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Avoid arrest with child support modification

Reports about the collection efforts of the Child Support Division of the Texas Office of the Attorney General are probably better known than some of the other services the agency provides. Modification of support agreements is also available for noncustodial parents with overdue child support payments.

Noncustodial parents are predominantly fathers, who can get behind on child support for reasons that are not their fault. The loss of employment makes an immediate dent in a budget and extended joblessness can cause overdue support payments to add up quickly.

Failing to deal with delinquent support has unpleasant consequences. Seventeen noncustodial parents were recently arrested in Smith County, where child support enforcement officials conducted an early morning sweep. Arrest warrants were issued for parents who violated court orders to pay support.

Authorities sent officers to residences and workplaces. The arrested parents could go to jail for up to six months for noncompliance. Bonds posted by the delinquent parents went directly to custodial parents.

The Child Support Division invites parents to contact the agency for help in clearing up problems with delinquency. A support modification order can give a noncustodial parent the opportunity to pay a lower support rate when financial circumstances have diminished.

Requesting a change in a support order for a valid reason looks better to a judge than avoiding court-ordered payments. Judges understand the difference between parents who are prevented from paying what they owe and those who hide from the responsibility to their children.

Beyond support enforcement and modifications, the state attorney general's office helps unmarried parents establish paternity. The agency will also assist in finding a parent whose location is unknown.

Source: kltv.com, "17 arrested in Smith County 'child support roundup'," Stephanie Frazier, Nov. 3, 2012

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