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Child supports payments greatly benefit Texas kids

Statistics show that child support payments make a critical difference in the welfare of children in Texas and across the country. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, these payments make up 39 percent of a single mother's household income and reduce their poverty rate by 25 percent. The problem is that millions of noncustodial parents are not paying their fair share.

Statistics compiled by the federal agency show that nearly 17 million parents needed intervention from their state to get child support payments from a noncustodial parent in 2013. Of those cases, state agencies were able to collect payments 60 percent of the time. Unfortunately, that left approximately 6.8 million children without the financial support they needed.

In 2013, more than $26 billion in child support payments were made nationwide. Slightly over $3.5 billion of those funds were distributed to children in Texas. Records indicate that noncustodial parents in Texas are $11 billion behind in their payments. The Texas Attorney General's Office handles child support cases for the state. State workers establish paternity, find absent parents, establish and enforce child support and medical support orders and oversee the assessment, adjustment, collection and distribution of child support payments. In cases where a noncustodial parent refuses to pay, the state may order wage garnishment to collect the funds.

Parents who are having trouble collecting child support payments may wish to speak with a family law attorney to determine what recourse they may have. Such an attorney may provide guidance on the best course of action to obtain the financial support a child needs.

Source: Valley Morning Star, "Child support payments make big difference," Bill Reagan, March 13, 2015

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