Attorney General child support enforcement in Texas
A child support enforcement can be brought by the appropriate government agency. Often this is the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Division (OAG); but some counties have domestic relations offices that can also bring an enforcement action on behalf of an obligee. The upside to requesting a public agency represent you in an enforcement action is that the agency will not charge you anything for the attorney or filing suit.
The OAG has its own courts called IV-D courts that it brings its enforcement actions. Its child support enforcement lawyers may file suit to enforce unpaid child support on your behalf. The noncustodial parent may owe you thousands in unpaid child support. You may not have the money to hire a lawyer on your own.
The OAG can request the same remedies as a private attorney and the judges in IV-D courts are very kind to the OAG attorney’s so once you get in front of a judge in an OAG proceeding you will usually get some type of worthwhile relief.
Problems pursuing child support enforcement through the Attorney General in Texas
The problem, the major problem, is that the OAG is understaffed and overloaded with cases. Many enforcement actions languish for a year or more waiting to see a judge even with arrearages in the tens of thousands of dollars. You may not have the money to support your children while you wait to get in front of a judge, let alone wait to actually get paid the arrearage. There are plenty of horror stories out there about obligees waiting all this time for relief only to have the OAG drop the ball or obtain an enforcement order with something less than what the obligee should receive.
In the alternative you can hire a child support enforcement lawyer on your own. Your lawyer represents you and will move your case more quickly than a government agency. While you may have to pay up front to hire a lawyer, the Texas Family Code also entitles you to recover attorney’s fees and costs in a child support enforcement.