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Vehicle registration program helps in collecting child support

In September 2016, the Child Support Division in Texas started a program that would not allow parents who were behind on their child support to register their vehicles. Attorney General Ken Paxton reports that so far, the program has been a success with more than 3,800 parents paying over $1 million in back payments as of the end of March.

Parents have the opportunity to set up a payment plan before their registration expires. The CSD sends them a reminder 90 days in advance.

According to Paxton, the hold on registration is lifted when a parent makes a payment arrangement because the aim of the program is to ensure that children are cared for rather than punishment for the parent. This is only one approach the CSD uses to collect support, and for every dollar that the CSD costs to run, it collects more than $12 in child support. In 2016, it collected more than $4 billion.

A court begins from the assumption that all parents owe support to their children. This is usually paid by noncustodial parents to custodial parents. The amount owed is calculated based on their income although other factors might be considered. Some parents may go through a change in circumstances, such as losing a job, that means they cannot continue paying the same amount in child support. However, even if the other parent agrees to this arrangement, if the two have a legal child support agreement in place, the parent must go to court to ask for a modificatio. The advantage of a legal child support agreement is that it gives the custodial parent the ability to turn to the CSD to help collect child support payments through programs like this vehicle registration one if necessary.

Source: Click2Houston, "Back child support tied to vehicle registration program collects $1.17 million", Brittany Taylor, April 11, 2017

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Bruce Turner

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