Monday, April 5, 2004

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Attorney General Abbott Announces Taylor County Roundup

AUSTIN Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott traveled to Abilene today to recognize Taylor County Sheriff Jack Dieken 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 Sheriff’s Office in the roundup.

I applaud Sheriff Jack Dieken 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.

Taylor County deputies began at 6 a.m. to locate and arrest delinquent parents before they had a chance to leave their homes for the day. 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. Parents can avoid arrest by paying child support in full and on time.

Parents wanted on child support violations can avoid the embarrassment of arrest at their home or place of business by calling the Sheriff’s Office at 674-1300 to make arrangements for voluntary surrender.

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 $1.5 billion for the state fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2003. The Attorney General’s Taylor County child support office collected $19.5 million.