Texas Child Support Cases- Dealing With the Attorney General’s Office- Sanctions

The Texas Office of Attorney General of Texas (OAG) Child Support Division is a massive bureacracy and individuals caught in child support cases with them may feel powerless and unfairly treated.  But the authority and discretion of the Attorney General’s office is limited by the same rules as to private practitioners.  The Texas Family Code, the Rules of Civil Procedure, local rules of Court, etc. all apply to even them.  In fact, in one case they were held subject to sanctions and attorney fees for their abuses.  Attorney General v. Cartwright, 874 SW 2d 210 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 1994, writ denied).

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32 Responses to Texas Child Support Cases- Dealing With the Attorney General’s Office- Sanctions

  1. Patricia says:

    I live in MO but am currently looking for a lawyer in TX for a childsupport case my husband has there. My husband used to have a support order for 4167.00/mth but now since he is no making that much money he is supposed to pay 688.00. However due to his involvement in drugs he was out of baseball for a good 6 yrs before he modified. He has managed to now owe 350,000.00 to Texas. However he never made that money during that time. I am being told that you can;t go back and get it modified based on income during that time. That only the mother can go back and forgive him that amount if she wants. Is there any loop holes to get this done any other way?

  2. palsea says:

    If I understand your question correctly, the answer is flatly- No. He can’t retroactively modify the child support order. He owes whatever he owed. However, he can avoid a contempt charge (with possible loss of liscense, and even jail time) if he can prove that he tried but could not pay the child support.

    I’d suggest you work out a deal with the mom. She may be willing to take pennies on the dollar (something is better than nothing). Make sure you get an agreed judgement amount that reflects what he is willing to pay, and that she properly waives all her rights to future collection efforts.

    I practice in the Texas counties of Harris (Houston) and Galveston, but I’ve filled my client list right now and am too busy to take on new cases. You may want to seek an attorney at the http://www.texasbar.com

    Good luck

  3. Lola says:

    I have a child support arrearage only case with the Texas OAG due to step-parent adoption. The ex owes about $35k and hasn’t paid since Oct/06.

    The NCP quit his job in Oct 06 and didn’t notify the OAG about new employer. Since then he switched jobs everytime he recieved a wage garnishment letter from the OAG (knowing it takes about 4wks to process). In Jan 07, after 90 days of non-payment, the OAG decided to sue him and we finally went to court in May 07 to “comfirm arrearages.” He showed up to say he was fired the day before from his then-employeer and did not want to disclose his new home address because he feared that I’d harrass him. The OAG told him to call back to update and let him go. Of course he never called back to update his address nor new employers info. At court, he was ordered to pay $1000 lum sum payment by May 31st and to start paying $340/month thereafter. He, of course, hasn’t paid anything.

    I was told by the OAG that I have to call the OAG to notify them that I haven’t received any payments every 30 days for 3 months before the OAG would go with the next step. Today, I called to let them know 3 collection letters have been sent and yet he hasn’t even contact the OAG. Now they’re going to serve him to go back to court for his drivers’ license to be suspended.

    Now, they told me if he no shows, the warrant for his arrest will be issued REGARDLESS the status of case – active or inactive. Our case is considered as “inactive” since there is no current support order and only back child support. That was a totally new thing to hear. I was always told that they won’t be able to arrest him because of inactive status.

    Do you think it is right information or I got wrong one (like I sometime do)?

  4. melinda says:

    Can a child support case be moved out of city without the Father beeing notified? Does his visitation rights change if the child and mother moved out of the city of houston? Say as far as Midland, Texas? Does the mother have to by law meet the father half way or pay for half of airplane ticket? Does the father have to buy the child anything besides the monthly child support taken out of check? Why does the state of texas Treat all the fathers the same even the ones who do pay child support and more besides that, even when the childs mother is worth a damb! Thats the case with my husband he’s a good father and the childs mother is worthless! Dont take care of the child the way she should. Can you answer that?

  5. Noemi says:

    Help me understand why it takes over 15 months to complete a medical support modification. I notified the Attorney General of a change in medical support and miraculously they lost my request for modification for about 7 months. Then, they finally started working on it and put an order in place that was later vacated due to short staffing. They set up another hearing and the non cp advised that he had obtained health insurance and was allowed 5 months to produce evidence of it. I have incurred over $2000. for medical support and have been advised that I cannot be reimburseed unless I seek legal counsel and pay out of pocket. I am trying to get money back, not spend more! But, when the non cp was sending an extra $50. here and there then the child support order was finally changed, they cut the non cp a check in the amount of $3000. and garnished my child support check. Who’s side is the Attorney General on?

  6. Norma King says:

    Help Me understand this dillemma if there exists an explanation on how the Attorney Generals office operates. I live in Georgia. My son is now 21 and his father never paid child support until the Attorney Generals office found him from time to time and sent me the child support. I never kept up with the amount since it was not worth the trouble. I only requested 175.00 dollars a month in hopes he would do at least that.

    He recently called and threatened that I should “call the attorney generals office” and forgive his arrears so he could obtain a passport to travel out of the country. I hung up on him of course and ignored it. I received a bill from the Attorney General office that I am in arrears of child support. How do people get away with this from con men like him and how does one defend oneself against this.

    I find in this day and era that this kind of thing can occurr and how careless of the administration department in that office.

  7. Nikki says:

    School records proving the child was living with you!

  8. Nikki says:

    Does’nt matter about the mother its the kid who was made by 2 people! So he has to pay whether he likes the mom are not he layed there and made the damn baby!

  9. Nikki says:

    I advise anyone to pay soon as the chils is born! then there would’nt be any problems to deal with!

  10. Kimberly says:

    How would I go about arranging a setup to have the NCP served with his Child Support papers? Recently, we had a Negotiation Meeting to determine an increase in the Child Support Order. Unfortunately, for me he did not show up. He is avoiding the Constable and the Special Processors so that he can prolong paying the increase of $1200.00. I’ve scheduled a doctor’s appointment for my child and he will accompany him I’m planning on having him served there but I don’t want this incident to have a negative impact on my child. Is their any other way.

    They have tried to serve him at home and at the military base on several different occasions. Please help!

  11. Amy says:

    I live in NJ and my ex fled to Texas as soon as we split up. The child support had to go through Texas. Although he made $65K when she was born, Texas only ordered him to pay $190 a month. And he still doesn’t pay that. It took Texas courts nearly a year to track him down for a support hearing – during that year he worked for both a state representative and a US congressman from Texas. They didn’t order him to pay arrears at that time. Now, more than 3 years later, he’s paid a whopping four months of child support and keeps dodging hearings. Texas claims they can’t find him to serve him, but he ran for office and has his name in the paper every other week. They claim a warrant was finally issued, but it’s only good for six months. NJ would have nailed him to the wall if the order was out of here. But Texas just seems to protect its own. And I’m a Yankee, I guess. Does anyone have any ideas?

  12. Crystal says:

    My child’s father and I established paternity and custody when the baby was little. We were both keeping her equal amounts of time bc I was in school and working, so I (foolishly) waived right to child support. Now it is three years later and I am trying to get CS established bc the money he has been helping with is being held over my head. He was also ordered to pay $25/ month towards the baby’s medicaid. yesterday he calld me and told me that his lawyer said that there are cases in Texas where the mother’s portion of the child support gets garnished to pay back for Medicaid being the baby’s only form of insurance, yet this is what was ordered by a judge when all of this was established. My question is: Has anyone heard of this, how rare is it, and won’t the court take into effect the fact that HE was ordered to cover her medical expenses, not me? Surely I won’t be penalized for this, right?

  13. velasco says:

    My husbands ex recently decided to go through Attorney General for shild support payments. She has always received child support through the court of El Paso, but the first 6 months child support was not being with held. However my husband paid her with a personal check and stated on the check for child support. The OAG states only the judge can approve those payments or his ex has to sign an affidavit(which will never happen). What are our options??? Thanks

  14. Connie Hammond says:

    My husband has a child support arrearage judgment from 1997. He owes $50.000.00. The OAG has made a lot of mistake in his case. How do we get that corrected? Can we take his case back to court to correct the judgment? Does the OAG go back if he is being charged 12% instead of 6% like the law passed in 1-1-2002? Can the OAG raise his payments for arrearage if the child is now a man, or because the case is no longer child support but arrearage? In 1997 when we got married, he owed $46,000.00, 11 years later he owes $49,000.00. Can we take this back to court to fight this amount? It is wrong. I can not find anyone that will help us go back in time, since this is an old case. It goes back to 1982. Where do you think I can some help with this case? This is a very diffucult case.

    Thank you,
    Connie

  15. Eva Anthony says:

    After using Atty.General I found there was alot of deciet in the system.My son and our family lost over 3 years of support due to Atty. General,this in my eye’s is criminal to a child .My child was abused by biological father and in later time discovered sexual assault by a stepbrother.As our household was proverty level —I tried everything to get help–Rural Legal Aid–Legal Aid–Individual Atty.–without prevail —I was told no Attorney’s available are I had to have a great deal of money.I got my son back vol. by his biological father–it was a chioce either his son or his new wife.I was grateful–cause I had tried to present abusive behavoral in the household he was living at but with no prevail.I got my son back in March of 2003 called Attorney general to inform them—I was told I had to wait 6mths., so I did then finally got a aapt. to show his was at my residence. Now that’s when they stated filing change of status–so I gave them 6mths. and called off and on through all this—1yr. went by then 2,2 1/2 .Then I was informed that they where not gonna ask for the years of back credit,I was so upset–Again I tried Atty.’s and so on—even filed complaint–I was called by a woman out of Austin office in which told me I could ask for credit at time of hearing.Hearing April 20,2008.I explained to caseworker working on case—I was denied.I since have not gotten help —this is truelly a crime and being proverty level –they known we can’t get help–so now we suffer with bad credit and my son suffer’s with knowing this was injust and question’s the system we live in today.Is there any help –actually my son is owed about $26,000.00 that should be his to restart his life—This to me makes no sense deciet in the system==should be noted as criminal deciet.Where is the justification of the unjust and even in the sytem–It’s a shame–and they say they are in the best interest of the child.

  16. Tom says:

    as an ex TX AG employee, I can honestly say that if your case has many difficult problems associated with it, then you absolutely must hire a private attorney to help you get your thoughts in order and work through the red tape.

    The AG functions first to pay the Federal Government back for welfare money recieved by custodial parents. It is not intended as a substitute for a private attorney.

    The second piece of advice is that if you at one time had a relationship that was good enough to produce a child, then you have to attempt to somehow repair the lines of communication and work out some sort of compromise.

    That’s the best way to do what is right for the kid that both of you had.

  17. Kat Furman says:

    My husband is embroiled in an unbelievable child support issue with the Atty. Gen.’s office. He divorced his second wife in 2004 and his wages have been garnished for regular child support for his daughter since then. Incredibly, the Atty. Gen.’s office HAS NO RECORD OF PAYMENTS from late 2004 through June 2008. They claim that my husband is $21,000.00 behind in child support and have sent a threatening letter advising him that he must either pay up in 30 days or protest the matter within 30 days. Not only that, but since June my husband’s wages have been garnished an EXTRA $600.00 per month to pay back this alleged arrears amount.
    This happened with no notice from the Atty. Gen.’s office or the court. There was no due process for my husband–they just started taking out the money.

    We’re currently awaiting proof from the garnishment service so we can go to the Atty. Gen.’s office and prove that payments have been made all along.

    Where on earth could these payments have gone? Could there be some horrible clerical mistake? Could the payments have gone directly to the mother instead of the State Dispersal Unit? How can my husband be accused of not paying child support when his wages are garnished weekly?

    This is urgent. At this time my husband is having almost 70% of his wages taken from him for child support. We can’t even put food on the table.

    Add to that another child support case from his first marriage: His two oldest children have graduated from high school, one in 2006 and one in 2007. He is still paying child support for them even though the employer and garnishment service have a copy of the divorce decree. He’s also still making extra payments for back child support that was paid off long ago. To date, my husband is having $1600.00 a month taken from his paycheck.

    We have a lawyer working on both of these cases but if anyone has any suggestions on speeding up the process, obtaining records more quickly or at least stopping the Atty. Gen. from taking such illegal, drastic action, it would be appreciated.

    We’ve already asked the garnishment service for proof of payments dating back to 2002. They have not mailed them to us yet. My husband will be calling them on Monday to ask where the documentation is and why we haven’t gotten it. He will also be asking them exactly where they send the payments they take from his paycheck.

    For the first time in my life I’m ready to sue a government entity.

  18. Leigh says:

    Kat, It would take too long to list all of the horrible things the AG’s office has done to my husband and I regarding child support, some of which include placing a FICTIOUS

  19. Leigh says:

    TAX LIEN on our house, not once, but twice (can’t do that according to the Texas Property Code) and the list goes on. As soon as the child support is paid, we ARE suing the AG’s office and everyone there who had made our lives a living hell

  20. Doris says:

    Connie, sounds just like our situation. My husband is in the same boat with a 1982 divorce where the back child support was confirmed at $20,500 in 1993. At one time around 1995 we received a statement that the balance had been paid down to ~13k, but in 1997 that all changed when the Atty. Gen. office got that sophisticated interest calculating system and went back to the original $20.5k. Last time the Atty. General bothered to send a statement he still owed over 30k. I think he pays about $10 a year on the principal. The outstanding balance never goes down… Even with the extra amounts intercepted from our IRS refunds get applied. My husband is 51 and I think our only “out” will be if and when he collects social security at 62. I understand as of right now, the attny. general isn’t allowed to attached the social security wages… But with our luck that will change by the time he turns 62. We’ve considered hiring the “old” lawyer that represented us back in 1993, but just don’ t know if we have any grounds to stand on with the ridiculous codes they have right now. Bottom line is the Obligee, the one getting the child support would have to agree to forgive my husband of the interest. Why would she forgo a free $400/month… She’s entitled to it right??? My husband has been paying child support/arreage on a child he has absolutely no relationship with for the past 27 years.

  21. Wanda says:

    This is my question: My husband was charged with felonly not paying child support and fleeing the state of Texas, my husband NEVER lived in the state of Texas, the divorce was filed in Alabama, ex wife moved to Texas, and my husband was arrested and charged with felony of fleeing Texas and has been making retribution to the state of texas in the amount of $325 plus paying child support out of his check; how can this happen. HE NOW HAS A FELONY ON HIM IN THE STATE OF TEXAS. What is wrong with this? Can’t someone help us, he’s paying his child support and has been paying for years, but ex wont “let him” see his daughters or when he calls they are not avaliable. He’s not seen his girls in 5 years. He is supposed to have visitation.

  22. Taxpayer says:

    I’m trying to do some research to help our own situation. Yes there are a lot of dads and (a lot of people don’t mention it but) mothers as well who do NOT pay child support. However, there are many people who DO support their kids. The AGs office appears to have the power to turn our lives upside down. They wake up after 10 or 15 years to send huge bills to disrupt your lives meanwhile wages have been garnished the entire time. They seem not to be aware that the wages ARE garnished — how does that happen? Is their no consequence for their lack of due diligence? Are they not accountable for anything that they do? I would sure like to know if anyone has sued them successfully. I can only imagine what happens to individuals who do not keep good records and who do not hang on to them forever. I’m just interested in finding out how to handle the huge discrepancies and if anyone has been successful in suing the AG. I’m so so tired of paying for the salaries of people who can’t seem to do their jobs.

  23. lisa says:

    My Son was ordered by the AG office to pay support on my granddaughter, he makes all his payments (they take it out of his check) He’s 23 and the child is going to be 3 in October. The girl he had the child with they were not married but lived together. She will not let my son see the child at all, he saw her back in August the last time. What can a father do and where can he go for help in getting his rights to see the baby. He can not afford to get a lawyer to go back to court. Is there any help for Dads

  24. My son has a 6 year old daughter. He divorced the mother of this child when she was 1 year old due to the mother being charged with a drug felon. The mother has been in and out of the Texas prison system over the past 6 years. She was released this past weekend and now wants to be able to see and visit her daughter.

    My son was given total custody rights of their daughter by the judge in his divorce decree. He is an Accounting Mgr. with a major food manufacture and distributor. Can he legally deny the mother any contact with the child without any problems?

    Patrick Sanders
    patricksanders1222@windstream.net

  25. Kat says:

    Update on our situation with the AG’s office:

    In my last post I mentioned that my husband had been getting 70% of his pay deducted because of the AG office claiming he hadn’t paid any child support since 2004. I also used the word “garnish” incorrectly. My husband’s payments were not garnished. They were taken out of his paycheck as a payroll deduction ordered by the divorce decree and executed by the payroll department at his work.

    Anyway, there’s a court hearing today. There was a court hearing two months ago too, but the AG’s officials were so confused by the mess they found with the payments that the hearing was reset. We were able to prove that payments have been made all along, so I’m anxious to see who was at fault for this mess. I’ve already advised our lawyer that we want to sue SOMEONE, be ith the payroll service, the AG’s office, or the mothers who sat by and took this extra money and didn’t say a word. They HAD to know it was wrong, and we want to recover at least some of it. Our lawyer told us that was unlikely, but if we file a lawsuit I hope we can at least get some kind of court settlement. Someone screwed up here, and we have proved that it wasn’t us! I’ll let you know what happens.
    Kat

  26. Kat says:

    Dear Patrick,

    I’m not sure your son can prevent the mother from seeing the child. It depends upon the divorce decree. There may be some legal issues here since the mother is not a dependable person. Your son can try not allowing her to see the child but if the divorce decree gives her visitation rights, your son will be in contempt of court no matter what kind of person the mother is. Your son will probably have to contact a lawyer and get a consultation. I hesitate to mention this, but if the mother is a person of less than moral character, or if drugs have completely screwed her up and she has bad judgement, there is the possibility that in frustration she may try to abscond with the child; it happens all the time. So tell your son to beware and make sure the visits are supervised. He might be able to go to court to get that done. Or as a last, drastic resort, he can go to court to get her parental rights terminated. Of course this will cost quite a bit of money, but if he fears for the child’s mental and/or physical safety, he may have to do it.

  27. Kat says:

    Dear Lisa,

    Your son must get some legal representation. There is free legal help in Texas but it takes a long time. Look it up on the Internet. If the mother is keeping him from seeing your granddaughter, she’s in contempt of court and your son can haul her into court. He needs to contact a lawyer and the AG’s office.

    If the daughter feels she has good reason to keep the child from your son (child abuse, spousal abuse, etc.), she will have to show documentation or some kind of proof to the judge.

    It doesn’t matter that your son and the mother never were married. They had a child together and the child has a right to be supported by both of them.

    Hope this helps.

  28. Broken Heart says:

    the mother of my grandaughter has married a man and his mother dies like a week ago, the mother and the step dad had the funeral home change my granddaughters name and posted it in the news papers obit her name as the step dads last name. That made my son so sad, but the attorney said first off because my Son isn’t sure if he is the father, because this girl had sex with alot of guys while they lived together and were togather. My Son is Firefighter so alot of time he worked, anyway it’s very involved her being with some of his friends and such. But the point is the AG only allowed him 6 hours to visit his daughter every two weeks because of her age the paper says. And the mother wont let him have his time with her, also her just putting in public changing my granddaughters last name like that. I feel badly for my Son, he goes out saves peoples lives and walks around so sad and stuff for his baby girl. It breaks my heart.. he pays the child support and medical for her and yet he has no access. The mothers myspace is the only place he can see pictures of her and the girl has splattered all over it , how the baby is this guys daughter and how they look so much alike.. things like that him holding her , kissing her and stuff. They have a new baby also, I have never been into my Sons bussiness as he is 23 but I’m angry she changed her name in that obituary. Seeing my Son sad , knowing that this weighs heavy on his heart and he tries to help so many in this world. Why God would have him to suffer makes me cry for him. Thanks for your response to my post. Have a good day be safe! Broken Hearted Mother :(

  29. kat says:

    Well, I said I’d keep you posted about my husband’s court date today. You’ll love this. The second ex-wife has been getting her child support payments sent directly to her bank account via direct deposit!!!! We are trying to find out how this happened, as the payments deducted from an NCP’s paycheck are supposed to be routed through the State Disbursment Unit. I have been asking this question for months and no one seems to be able to come up with an answer as to WHO authorized these payments to be sent directly to the ex-wife.
    Anyway, the ex was supposed to bring her bank statements to show that she received the money, because she’s (get this) trying to get my husband to pay MORE money–she’s asking for a modification upward to $600 per month!!!!!! This woman is not stupid. She has a business degree. She knows about money. She even asked the AG’s rep, “Well, he may not be making much money right now but he might in the future, right?” Is she absolutely crazy? People are getting laid off right and left, my husband took a huge pay cut last year, he’s paying out the you-know-what in child support, and she has the gall to ask that question?????

    The AG and the judge have again reset the case to June. This is ridiculous. Suppose the ex turns up again and still doesn’t have her records?

    She has no lawyer either.

    Is there anyone out there that can comment on what the possible outcome of this case might be????

    Totally disgusted,

    Kat

  30. kat says:

    I forgot to mention, although you have probably figured this out, that the ex showed up in court but with no financial records, no bank statements, nothing. It seems like she’s trying to intimate that he hasn’t paid her and therefore she wants more money. Of course she doesn’t want anyone to look at her bank statements–it would prove that she’s getting paid!!!! She’s playing stupid and, according to my husband, the AG’s rep was not pleased. We’ll see.

    Ka

  31. Tamera says:

    Kat,
    Per AG requirements, not only does the NCP have to provide financial documents but so too does the CP. I have a case with them, and I know I have provided all kinds of documentation as the CP. The biggest problem that really exists are the judges. They know the laws, know what is expected, and yet they are the first ones to let both sides off the hook. I am a firm believer in “you get what you give.” So when the judges show these people (whether CP or NCP) that the system will not stand behind itself, they will continually thwart it. Your attorney needs to ensure in his court demands that she provide the documentation at court. And if she shows up again without them, he needs to stand up and request that she be held in contempt. And per statutes, a modification can only be requested when there is a significant change of circumstance. From what you are saying, it would seem you could request a modification to DECREASE the support as he has taken a cut in pay. Hope this helps!

  32. Kat says:

    Tamera, thanks for your comments. I agree with all of them. By the way, our side showed up at court with all required documentation: proof of payment, when those payments were made, all the way back to the day the divorce was final, tax returns, everything. It was hell getting that payment documentation but we got it, after our lawyer leaned on the payroll service.

    As a matter of fact, the lawyer WILL be asking for a decrease in support. The AG’s assistant told my husband, “Looks like you made a lot of money last year.” My husband retorted that he was not only paying for the child support in question, he was also paying child support for three other children AND supporting our family. I was out of work for almost all of 2008, and we depended upon my spouse’s salary. Since 70% was going to child support (also against state law), you can imagine what a hardship it has been.

    Anyway, you’re right about the judges. They just want to move on to the next case (I don’t blame them for that, there are so many) but if someone’s in contempt, they’re in contempt. I fear that the ex-wife will continue to play stupid and evade the demand for documentation as long as she can. Her bank statements will undeniably show that she’s been paid. Thanks for your suggestion that we ask our lawyer to make sure and mention this contempt charge to the judge if the ex still has no documents at the next hearing.

    Finally, I have to share something else. The AG asked my husband why he changed positions at his job, and had the gall to say, “Well, can’t you go back to that position?” Where does the government get off telling someone what kind of job to have???? Has the world gone mad??? The ex-wife is so nuts that she thinks child support can be modified according to a just-in-case scenario. WRONG. Like you said, Tamera, if there has been a change in circumstance, child support can be modified according to that circumstance, not what might happen in the future.

    I’m surrounded by idiots.

    Kat

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