Some single parents in Texas require assistance from the government to make ends meet and to provide adequate health care for their child. This is where the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid come in. Child support is linked to TANF and Medicaid, and parents who receive help from these programs need to be aware of how this works. Those who receive TANF or Medicaid frequently do not realize that their case will be sent to the state office of the Attorney General, which will then typically open a case for child support services as a routine fact. The circumstances of how the parent came to need this governmental help are irrelevant. The state will simply want its taxpayers’ expenditures for the child to be reimbursed.
The Office of the Attorney General of Texas will require the parent to take part in the case. There are certain federal laws when it comes to receiving TANF and Medicaid or other medical help that must be followed. The parent’s cooperation is required so paternity can be established, child support orders can be settled, child support modification can be completed and child support enforcement can occur. There are various reasons why these issues are important.
Not only is knowing who the father is important to the child, but it is imperative when support payments and reimbursement of costs of government help are sought. For the child support order to be completed, the Attorney General’s office must know where the other parent is, what he or she does for a living, and what that parent’s income and assets are. When seeking to have child support modification, there must be paperwork completed so the Attorney General’s office can go over the facts and determine whether or not changes are applicable. Enforcing child support orders means that the other parent is not fulfilling his or her legal obligations making it possible that there will be govenment seizure of assets and license suspensions as well as other penalties assessed until payments are up-to-date.
It’s also important to know that the Texas Attorney General’s Office clearly states that they can enforce child support orders but they can’t enforce visitation orders. When they do enforce child support orders, this can include the following against the noncustodial parent.
● License suspension (i.e. drivers, professional, hunting, and fishing)
● Denial of a new or renewed passport
● Filing of liens on properties, bank accounts, retirement plans, and life insurance plans
● Reporting to credit bureaus
● Interception of lottery winnings and income tax refunds
● Finding of civil or criminal contempt of court
The Texas Attorney General’s Office also make available a ‘Monthly Child Support Calculator‘. This tool gives parents a starting point to understanding some of the factors that the state uses when calculating child support. Including, but not limited to, hourly wages, salary, self-employment income, court-ordered medical support, and current child support.
Parents who are having financial struggles or cannot get the child support payments they are owed for whatever reason should understand how the state handles these circumstances. Whether it is a parent who needs TANF, help with medical expenses, or simply wants help in getting the payments that are owed from the other parent, speaking to a legal professional can provide insight and assistance.
An experienced Board-certified Family Law expert attorney in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County or elsewhere throughout Texas can work with clients on casework for TANF, Medicaid and child support in Texas. Call the GUNNSTAKS Law Firm at 972-590-6572.
Source: texasattorneygeneral.gov, “Child Support and TANF/Medicaid,” accessed on Nov. 17, 2015