Weekly AG Newspaper Columns
New Year's Resolution: Pay Your Child Support
By Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas
As responsible parents, there is no better time than the start of the New Year to reflect on the example we are setting for our children. Although they may not tell us, children look to their mothers and fathers to provide the love and support they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
Parents without custody also have the opportunity to influence their children's growth and development in many positive ways. There is no more compelling evidence of parental concern for a child's welfare than the regular payment of child support.
It is common knowledge that child support payments cover a child's basic needs, such as food, shelter, healthcare, and clothing. However, the benefits extend beyond the financial security that each payment provides. Research shows that the children of parents who pay their child support have fewer behavior problems, make better grades, and stay in school longer than children who do not receive regular support.
Parents who pay child support are also more likely to "be there" emotionally for their children, and take an active role in their upbringing. Children with two involved and caring parents are more confident, more likely to exercise self-control, and less likely to engage in risky behaviors that result in drug usage and early pregnancies.
For the state fiscal year that ended August 31, my office collected a record $1.67 billion in child support, topping the previous year's total by $111 million. This phenomenal achievement was made possible by thousands of Texas parents who faithfully pay court-ordered child support every month without reminders.
For parents who need extra encouragement, it is my hope that the beginning of the New year will renew their commitment to provide for their children, and pay their child support. Pleas show your children that you care about their welfare by making regular child support payments throughout 2005.
To help parents collect child support, the Attorney General's Office accepts applications from mothers, fathers and other individuals who request our services. Applications can be obtained by visiting Child Support Interactive on the main Attorney General Web site www.oag.state.tx.us or by calling our 24-hour voice response system at (800) 252-8014. Parents who receive financial assistance through the Health and Human Services Commission automatically receive child support services.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
Children Who Receive Child Support:
• Have better health and nutrition
• Have fewer behavior problems
• Make better grades
The Attorney General Will Help You:
• Locate a non-custodial parent;
• Establish your child's paternity;
• Establish and enforce child support orders
• Review and adjust child support payment; and
• Collect and distribute child support payments
Apply for child support services by:
• Visiting Child Support Interactive on the main Attorney General Web site www.oag.state.tx.us
• Calling the 24-hour voice response system at (800) 252-8014
Information on this and other topics is available on the Attorney General's Web site at www.oag.state.tx.us.