Texas officials want residents of the state to know if they do not meet their financial obligations to their children, they could go to jail. That message was received loudly and clearly by more than 150 parents in five South Texas counties who recently were arrested for failing to pay child support. The sheriff of Cameron County, where 38 of the delinquent parents reside, called the week-long operation 'very successful." Those arrested in the crackdown now face up to six months behind bars. Any cash bonds posted on behalf of the arrested parents will be paid to the custodial parents and children who are owed back support.
During the last fiscal year, the state collected more than $3.6 billion in delinquent child support payments. At least $107 million of that total came from the five-county area in which the recent enforcement effort took place. The effort likely will lead to the collection of more delinquent payments. The amount owed by Cameron County parents who were arrested totaled more than $650,000, with one man alone owing over $75,000.
Under Texas law, child support guidelines are used to determine a noncustodial parent's child support obligation. The amounts paid for child support are intended to assist the custodial parent in providing the child with food, clothing, medicine and other everyday necessities. When a parent does not meet his or her child support obligations, the child is the one who suffers most.
Parents who have fallen behind on their child support payments may benefit from consulting an experienced child support attorney. The attorney can help ensure that the child support order is fair to both parents, consistent with the statutory guidelines and in the child's best interests. The attorney also can assist in obtaining a child support enforcement order if the other parent is not paying.
Source: The Brownsville Herald, "Authorities arrest 150 for child support", Fernando Del Valle, December 25, 2013