Child support evaders hit a road block

New program to collect on delinquent accounts expected roll out Sept. 1

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By AMANDA KIMBLE
TheFlashToday.com

ERATH COUNTY (August 11, 2016) – Certain Texas residents failing to follow court-ordered obligations are approaching a road block. The Texas Attorney General’s Office is expected to rollout a new program making it impossible for child support evaders to renew their motor vehicle registration next month. 

The program targets evaders who are six months or more behind on child support payments, requiring them to make payment or arrangements through state offices before they can register their cars, trucks and other automobiles.

The effort adds to other aggressive collection tactics by the AG’s Child Support Division, which can include suspension of driver’s, professional and recreational licenses and property liens, as well as garnishment of wages and withholding of lottery winnings and income tax returns.

Erath County Tax Assessor Jennifer Carey said the new law paving the way for the program dates back to eight years ago, but complications have stalled statewide launch more than once.

“It has taken quite a while to get the information in any type of format to transmit from the Attorney General (AG) to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV),” Carey said, adding the program was most recently delayed in May.

The DMV is expected to begin notifying affected individuals of the issue in September when three-month registration notices are sent to motor vehicle owners whose current registration expires in December.     

While Carey anticipates hearing from number of disgruntled motorists, clerks or officials in local DMV offices will not be able to detour from the program.

“Accounts will be flagged, and we will not be allowed to proceed to attempt to register the vehicle,” Carey said.

Once a stop has been placed on the renewal process, affected individuals must contact the AG’s office and make payment arrangements before the hold is lifted.

Carey said when an account is flagged by the DMV, all current and future motor vehicles registered in the name of the child support evader can be impacted until the issue is resolved. She said a similar program prevents the purchase or renewal of toll tags.    

“There are lot of people not paying their court-ordered child support, making it so custodial parents are unable to support their children,” Carey said.

But the latest AG effort could land evaders behind bars. Operating a motor vehicle without valid registration is illegal and could lead to fines and jail time, depending upon the degree of the offense.

Meanwhile, officials with the child support division believe the new program will be worth the effort, boosting already successful collection efforts.

Texas’ Child Support Division is the most successful and cost-effective program in the nation, according to a September 2015 press release from the agency. At that time, the division administered 1.5 million child support cases, serving 1.7 million children and collecting $11.34 for every $1 spent to operate the program.

The agency reportedly collected $3.7 billion in child support in Federal FY 2014.

3 Comments

  1. If a poor single custodial mother cannot make ends meet, the State is there to help her with a variety of assistance (Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program, Head Start, Medicaid, WIC, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, etc.).
    If a poor noncustodial father cannot make ends meet the State is there to punish him (fines, fees, high interest, loss of license, jail, and now, blocking their vehicle registration). The Attorney General needs to realize that most people in arrears are dead broke, not dead-beat.
    There are two ways to make a mule move; a carrot or a stick. Punitive measures have been tried. The AG should try an incentive (a tax deduction, enforcement of his period of possession with his kids, a discount for the child’s college, etc.) to encourage payment of child support.

  2. Mr. Mathis:

    I believe the AG is targeting the individuals that would rather drive nice vehicles then pay their child support, and there is a difference between dead-beat and dead broke. Most of the time the dead-beats do not have a pot to piss in let alone a vehicle.
    I personally can’t decide if what the AG is wanting to do is a good thing. Yes, men are producing babies they can’t afford, and the U.S produce debt it can’t afford. If you want to teach/make someone to do something right you have to know how to do it yourself before you can teach anyone else.

    • Janey wrote that “Most of the time the dead-beats do not have a pot to piss in let alone a vehicle.” So how is the AG’s plan is supposed to encourage people to pay money that they don’t have?

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