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The role of child support and shocking data regarding arrears

The monthly amount that a noncustodial parent is ordered to pay in support for children is based on the parent's income. The calculation varies from 20 percent for one child to 40 percent for five or more children. Across the United States, more than $26 billion was distributed in 2013 in support payments. Of this, more than $3.5 billion went to custodial parents and children in Texas. However, noncustodial parents in the state also owe almost $11 billion in unpaid support.

The financial situation for single mothers is greatly improved with the support payments. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that the support makes up 39 percent of their income and reduces their poverty rate by 25 percent.

In 2013, about 15.6 million child support cases were open across the country. Among these cases, about 16.9 million children did not receive the support that they need, and state intervention was required to get the noncustodial parents to make the payments. This means that states only collected 60 percent of the payments, leaving almost 6.8 million children without support from noncustodial parents. In a majority of cases, this parent is the father.

Across the country, more than 54,000 people work full time to administer child support programs. The attorney general's office is tasked with enforcing support orders in Texas. The office also locates parents, establishes paternity and orders, establishes and enforces medical support orders, collects and distributes payments, and reviews and modifies orders. When parents owe child support arrears, the office could order that their paychecks be garnished.

Custodial parents who need help ensuring that their child support orders are enforced could get in touch with the attorney general's office over the phone or online. If they continue to have problems collecting the money they are owed, they may contact their lawyers to determine whether they can take further action.

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Bruce Turner with Bennett, Weston LaJone & Turner, P.C.

Attorney Bruce Turner is located in Dallas and represents people and businesses throughout DFW and the Metroplex, including Denton, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Farmers Branch, Irving, Las Colinas, Corinth, Highland Village, The Colony, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Garland and Grapevine as well as Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County in Texas.

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