Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Tuesday, October 24, 2000

CORNYN GOES TO COURT TO ENFORCE CHILD SUPPORT

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn appeared today in the San Antonio courtroom of Judge James Rausch to prosecute noncustodial parents who owe child support.

In these cases, the noncustodial parents have repeatedly failed to pay their court-ordered child support. As a result of the hearings, the delinquent parents must pay a portion of the child support due today, return to pay a portion of the child support due on a date set by the court or go to jail.

"I am here today because I want Texans to know I am serious about enforcing child support. My staff and I will make every effort to see that families receive the child support they are due," said Attorney General Cornyn.

"We are careful to differentiate between dead beat and dead broke parents. Non-custodial parents lacking the means to earn a living and pay child support are dead broke. We will refer cooperative dead broke parents to job training and employment programs. On the other hand, dead beat parents have the financial resources to fulfill their responsibilities for their children, but refuse to do so," said Cornyn.

In the last two years, collections have increased from $757 million in State Fiscal Year (SFY) 1998 to $868 million in SFY 1999 to $1.029 billion in SFY 2000 - a 36% increase in only two years. The $161 million increase from SFY 1999 to SFY 2000 is the largest dollar increase in child support collections in the history of the Texas program. This follows the previous year's record increase of $111 million.

Civil measures such as income withholding, interception of income tax returns and license suspension may also be used to compel compliance with child support court orders. Parents failing to comply with a court order can also be incarcerated for six months for contempt of court. Once civil remedies have been exhausted, they can also be prosecuted on a felony charge with a maximum prison sentence of two years, if convicted.

The Office of the Attorney General vigorously pursues parents violating court orders to pay child support. San Antonio area residents with information about delinquent noncustodial parents or other child support issues should contact the Office of the Attorney General by phone (1-210-841-8450), e-mail (childsupport@texasattorneygeneral.gov), mail - Office of the Attorney General, Child Support Division, P.O. Box 12017, Austin, TX 78711-2017 or by visiting the Attorney General's website www.oag.state.tx.us.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050
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