Over one hundred individuals have been arrested over the past few months in child support roundups happening in counties across the state. Police are working with the Texas Attorney General's Child Support Division and through Operation Take Care to hold parents accountable for their failure to pay court-ordered child support.
Houston Child Support Roundup
The Houston and Harris County roundup took place in June, and police arrested more than 40 individuals accused of not paying child support. Called “Operation Take Care,” the roundup focused on parents that had active warrants for delinquent child support payments. In total, there were over 575 open warrants for failure to pay child support. Since the roundup, many parents with active warrants have come forward to make arrangements to pay instead of going to jail.
Travis and Tarrant County Roundups
In September, Travis and Tarrant Counties also had roundups of parents within their districts that were in arrears on their child support payments. Travis County officials arrested 43 individuals and Tarrant County arrested 16. These countywide sweeps are part of the state government's crackdown on delinquent parents. The state is also using the arrests as an incentive for other parents to come forward and make arrangements to pay any owed child support before warrants go out for their arrests. Statewide, child support collected by the Office of Attorney General exceeded $3.8 billion. Travis County parents paid $125 million of that amount, and Tarrant County contributed $308 million in child support payments.
Texas Child Support Penalties
When a parent does not follow the court ordered child support payment plan, the Texas Attorney General can use rules found in state and federal law to ensure compliance. The government can either obtain a judgment against the parent or file for contempt of court charges. Any unpaid child support accrues at a rate of six percent interest per year.
Under Texas and federal law, the government has access to a myriad of options to collect unpaid child support. The most common method is to withhold the child support amount from the delinquent parent's paycheck. Another effective method is to suspend any state license of the parent until the amount is paid. This can include a driver's, medical, dental, law, hunting, and fishing licenses. The Texas Attorney General is also allowed to freeze and seize accounts or assets of the delinquent parent in order to pay child support.
Under federal law, a parent's income tax and refund checks can be seized and used to pay child support. The federal government can also hold off on issuing or reissuing a passport to a parent who is behind in child support payments.
When all else fails, the Texas Attorney General is allowed by law to arrest parents who are in arrears on their child support payments. Since December 2002, more than 15,000 parents have been arrested in Texas for failure to make child support payments.
Call a Texas Family Law Attorney Today
If you have questions regarding child support delinquencies or other family law issues, let the experienced attorneys at The Law Office of Lori E. Laird, PLLC help. Call the office at (832) 699-1966 or contact us today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.