The Texas Attorney General’s Office earns high marks for being aggressive in making sure child support gets collected from non-custodial parents. It does that through a variety of means. That’s all well and good. But what good is collecting if child support money doesn’t wind up reaching those it’s intended for in a timely way?
It’s a problem that officials acknowledge can exist, but they seem less inclined to talk about why it happens. Meanwhile, there are some who suggest that the lack of apparent solutions is an indicator of a shortcoming in government transparency.
Take the case of one Elgin mother of two. She lives with her sons and two grandparents in a modest trailer. Her ex-husband pays his child support as he should and the AG’s office collects it. But in January of this year, the AG’s office put about $3,000 of the payments on hold. No reason was given and the woman says she couldn’t get anyone at the office to speak with her about the situation.
As KVUE-TV observed in a report about the case, this scenario is not rare. A check of records showed that officials held on to $55 million in support for Texas children in one recent quarter. Again, the reason why isn’t clear, but some legal observers say they have a name for it — child support purgatory.
In the case of the Elgin mother, state officials withheld the children’s money for four months. Interestingly, just two days after KVUE got onto the story and started asking questions, the money was released. The explanation given was that it was the result of a clerical error. A court order hadn’t been properly recorded in the system.
Such a thing should not happen. When it does, there are steps that custodial parents can take to seek remedy through the courts. Speaking with an experienced family law attorney is always recommended.
Source: KVUE.com, “Millions of dollars stuck in Texas ‘child support purgatory’,” Andy Pierrotti, Sept. 15, 2015