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Functions of the Texas Child Support Program

More state resources may be available to separated and divorced Houston parents than they realize. You may think of the Child Support Division of the state attorney general's office as a collections agency. In fact, the government department provides several services that can aid custodial parents.

Child support is collected from non-custodial parents and distributed to custodial parents by the state. The division also makes sure non-custodial parents remain compliant with support court orders. The state has the power to use enforcement measures to keep support obligations current.

A non-custodial parent's wages can be garnished for support payments. Other income, like tax refunds and lottery winnings, can be intercepted by the state to defray the amount of support parents owe. Drivers, recreational and profession license suspensions and sometimes jail terms can be imposed for non-payment.

The Texas Child Support Division also helps custodial parents track down non-custodial parents who've moved and lost contact with a custodial parent. The department also helps custodial parents obtain and modify child support court orders. Services additionally include establishing paternity, a prerequisite for support for unmarried parents.

State and federal taxpayers fund the Child Support Program, so services may be offered to non-custodial parents for free. No-cost government child support services help place the financial responsibility for children on parents. Government investments in child support programs also ensure fewer custodial parents will be in need of other, possibly long-term benefits due to lack of child support.

The top priority for state child support programs and Texas family courts is the best interest of the child. All child-related court decisions are geared toward the primary physical, emotional and financial welfare of children.

While the department can be instrumental in securing court orders, the Texas Child Support Division does not become involved in support disputes. Legal advice for support disagreements and modifications can be directed to a family law attorney.

Source: Attorney General of Texas, "About the Child Support Program" Aug. 20, 2014

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