Child Support
Criminal Nonsupport Handbook

An Ongoing Effort
Comments and Questions


The purpose of this handbook is to assist prosecutors in Texas with the preparation and trial of criminal nonsupport cases. Every year, hundreds of thousands of parents regularly make their child support payments. However, there are others who have the ability to pay but refuse to fulfill their legal and moral obligation to support their children.

To create a culture of compliance, it must be clear that there are stiff penalties for parents who refuse to take care of their children. Prosecution for criminal nonsupport is one important avenue for sending the message that parents should take seriously their obligation to pay child support.


Many prosecutors shy away from criminal nonsupport cases because they involve family law, which is far outside the normal purview of most prosecutors. This is where the OAG can help. The OAG’s Child Support Division handles more child support cases than any other entity in the nation, filing approximately one-half of all family law cases in Texas and one-third of all the civil suits in Texas.

The OAG serves every Texas county, with 75 offices across the state, and employs a staff of more than 2,000, including more than 200 assistant attorneys general (AAG). The OAG has a caseload of about 1 million cases and last year collected more than $2 billion in child support. However, it cannot independently prosecute criminal nonsupport cases. That is why the OAG needs your help.

An Ongoing Effort

To create a culture of compliance, our office will work closely with your office to make the public aware of how serious the state of Texas is about people supporting their children and of your efforts to pursue these cases. If we bring a case to you, an AAG and a Field Investigator will be assigned to assist with the case from presentation to conviction. We can provide litigation support; experts on how child support is set, collected, recorded, and distributed; and staff familiar with the specific case.

The OAG is committed to referring only those cases where prosecution is clearly indicated and where the facts are established beyond a reasonable doubt.


This handbook was prepared by the following:

  • John Beauduy, AAG
  • Debi Caffee, AAG
  • A.D. Clark, AAG
  • Tom Hamilton, Assistant Deputy Director for Special Enforcement Operations
  • Meg Jordan, AAG
  • Harry Monck, AAG
  • Debra Morgan, AAG
  • Donna O'Shea, AAG
  • Rolando Ramirez, AAG
  • Don Strup, Supervisor and Field Investigator for Special Enforcement Operations
  • Alan Sumrall, AAG
  • Henry Voegtle, AAG
Comments and Questions

For comments or suggestions regarding this handbook, or to get your questions answered about criminal nonsupport, please contact Penny Denmon, field operations investigator at 512-460-6276.

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Revised: May 06 2010