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Constable Carlos Lopez and his deputies assist the citizens and courts of Travis County

Carlos B. Lopez, Constable

Travis County Courthouse Complex


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Bruce Elfant

Bruce Elfant

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Constable's Notebook - October 2005

My office recently conducted a child support round up of more than 100 parents who owed as much as $100,000 in unpaid child support. The Child Support Enforcement Council estimates that in the United States children are owed nearly $90 billion in unpaid child support. In Texas, while The Attorney General’s Child Support division reports record high child support payments in excess of $1.5 billion, millions of dollars intended to help support children, remain unpaid. Numerous studies have reported that children who do not receive financial and emotional support from both parents are more likely to get into trouble and less likely to graduate high school. While I firmly believe that the vast majority of parents fully intend to support their children financially and emotionally, too often numerous factors including the failure to accept responsibility as parents results in little or no support for their children.

Parents seem to get into the most trouble when the emotions emanating from the breakup of their relationship overwhelms any rational decision making that is in the best interest of their children. Too often parents are looking to “get even” with the other parent even if it means not paying child support or limiting their children’s access to the other parent.

Many child support problems also occur as the result of court orders that become out of date and unenforceable due to various changes in circumstances. If a parent is layed off or moves away enforcement of support and visitation becomes difficult or impossible. When circumstances change, parents should have their orders reviewed and modified to reflect updated realities.

The Constable’s Office gets involved when parents violate their court orders or refuse to show up for court as ordered. The vast majority of warrants issued in Travis County are for parents who have not paid a dime to and have not visited their kids for months or years. Those arrested during September, owed more than $1.5 million in child support to their kids. When I speak to high school classes, I make clear that bringing a child into the world (whether intentional or not) is at least an 18 year legal and moral responsibility on the part of both parents.

The Texas Attorney General’s Child Support division # 512-460-6000 and the Travis County Domestic Relations office # 512-854-9696 are the agencies responsible in Travis County for enforcing child support and visitation, modifying orders and providing parental counseling and other services to ensure that children receive financial and emotional support from both their parents



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