In what has been described as a “multi-agency operation” orchestrated by the combined efforts of the Longview Police Department, the Texas Attorney General Office and the Gregg County Sheriff, six major offenders who had skipped out on their child support payments were taken into custody.
The officers involved in the busts began serving simultaneous warrants on individuals at 4:00 a.m. on March 11. The authorities stress that this is the beginning of their efforts to round up “deadbeat” parents — so more arrests are likely to follow soon.
Consequently, the Office of the Attorney General has a suggestion for all parents who have fallen behind on their child support obligations: Call them before they call on you.
In general, Texas is pretty ruthless about collecting support that’s owed to children. Aside from the fact that the children are legally due the money, the support is often necessary to keep them from falling into poverty and ending up on state benefits.
When noncustodial parents fall behind on child support, the state can:
- Charge interest on the unpaid support.
- Suspend your driver’s license.
- Garnish your paycheck.
- Intercept your tax return.
- Take your lottery winnings.
- Suspend your professional license, if you hold one.
- Sentence you to jail for up to six months for contempt of court.
- Find you criminally liable and sentence you to up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Place a lien on any property you own.
If you’re a noncustodial parent who owes support you can’t afford to pay, you do have options — but only if you take steps before the situation escalates. If you’re a custodial parent who is owed support, an attorney can help you enforce your legal options.