THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
Ken Paxton

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bell County Constables Conduct Sweep; Arrest Parents Who Failed to Pay Child Support

BELTON Bell County Constables have arrested 27 Bell County parents who violated court orders requiring them to pay child support. Constables who participated in the initiative are: Pct. 1 Constable Luis Cortez; Pct. 2 Constable Roger Laird; Pct. 3 Constable Thomas Prado; and Pct. 4 Constable Edd Melton III.

The sweep, which wrapped up on Saturday, was conducted in conjunction with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Child Support Division. The joint effort focused on parents who are wanted by authorities for failing to pay their court-ordered child support.

Parents have a moral and legal obligation to make regular child support payments, Attorney General Abbott said. By collecting child support, we are ensuring young Texans have the resources they need to grow healthy and strong. We are grateful to Pct. 1 Constable Luis Cortez, Pct. 2 Constable Roger Laird, Pct. 3 Constable Thomas Prado, and Pct. 4 Constable Edd Melton for their commitment to Texas children.

Constable Melton kicked off the operation on Wednesday when he began tracking down parents who are wanted for contempt of court as a result of their failure to pay child support. Constables Cortez, Laird and Prado began their pursuit on Thursday. Child Support Division investigators aided the constables by providing logistical assistance to locate missing parents. The roundup resulted in the arrest of 27 parents whose failure to pay violated the law.

Delinquent parents arrested on civil warrants face up to six months in jail. Cash bonds posted by delinquent parents seeking release from jail are paid to the custodial parents and children who are owed back child support.

Parents who have outstanding warrants can avoid the embarrassment of arrest at their home or work by turning themselves in to the Bell County Jail. Parents who have fallen behind on their child support payments but are not yet subject to warrants for their arrest should immediately contact the Attorney General’s Child Support Division at (800) 252-8014 to make payment arrangements.

Under state and federal law, the Office of the Attorney General can assist families who request child support services and must serve families who currently receive or have received public assistance. Services offered by the Child Support Division include 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 Office of the Attorney General exceeded $2.78 billion for the state fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2009. The Attorney General’s Bell County child support office collected $63.7 million of that amount.