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Will the state help me enforce child support and custody terms?

The quick answer to the question above is, yes. The Office of the Attorney General for Texas is home to the Child Support Division and it is tasked with assisting parents in custodial or support disputes.

But the foundational presumption of Texas law is that both parents have particular responsibility for the care and well-being of their children -- whether they are together or not. Because of that, a lot of effort is directed toward encouraging parents to fulfill their obligations. The state does this by working to coordinate services through various touch points, including schools, community groups and even hospitals.

One situation that can present a particular challenge to a custodial parent is when the noncustodial parent decides to relocate. Sometimes this might happen because of a job opportunity. It might also happen without warning, leaving the custodial parent and child in the lurch.

The Office of the Attorney General is prepared to locate the parent for enforcement purposes, but launching the effort puts a significant burden on the custodial parent to provide information. Applicants for this kind of help are expected to provide the agency with the noncustodial parent's current address, his or her current employer's name and address, and if that's not available, the name and address of the parent's last known employer.

In addition, any personal information that can be provided about the noncustodial parent is sought. These might include his or her social security number, relatives' names and addresses, names of groups the parent is a part of and even places they might frequent in their free time.

The office also asks for any legal documentation that can be provided regarding court orders related to child support, paternity acknowledgment, birth records, tax returns, bank statements and records related to support payment history.

In other words, the state will help with child support enforcement, but it takes a lot of work. And to be sure that all the requirements are met, it is wise to work with an experienced attorney.

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