Monday, September 15, 2003

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Attorney General Abbott Announces Travis County Child Support Roundup

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today applauded Travis County Pct. 5 Constable Bruce Elfant for requiring parents to take responsibility for their children. The countywide sweep that began at daybreak targets parents who are violating court orders to pay child support. Special Enforcement Operations investigators from the Attorney General's Child Support Division are supporting the Constable's Office in the roundup.

"I applaud Constable Elfant for taking a strong stand against parents who neglect their children by failing to pay child support. Parents have a moral and legal duty to make regular child support payments, and those who shirk their responsibilities will end up behind bars," said Attorney General Abbott.

Since August 1, Elfant's office has conducted intense efforts to execute warrants for nonpayment of child support on cases handled by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Office and the Travis County Domestic Relations Office. Today, deputies set out at 5 a.m. to arrest delinquent parents before they had a chance to leave their homes for the day.

Pct. 1 Constable Luke Mercer, Pct. 3 Constable Drew McAngus and Pct. 4 Constable Maria Canchola are assisting Elfant in the roundup effort, which will continue through Thursday, September 18.

Parents subject to arrest face contempt-of-court charges for failing to appear in court and pay child support. They will be required to post bond or they will remain in custody until a hearing, which can result in a sentence of up to six months in jail. If a delinquent parent posts bond, the money will go to the custodial parent and children involved in the case. Noncustodial parents can avoid arrest by paying child support in full and on time. Parents who have fallen behind on their child support payments should immediately contact the Attorney General's Child Support Division at 1-800-252-8014 to make payment arrangements.

The Attorney General's Child Support Division offers an array of services to help, including: locating absent parents; establishing paternity for children born to unmarried parents; establishing, enforcing, and modifying child and medical support orders; and collecting and distributing child support payments.

Statewide, child support collected by the Attorney General's Office exceeded $1.4 billion for the state fiscal year that ended August 31, 2002. Travis County collections totaled $45 million.