Texas parents behind on child support won’t be able to renew car registration

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HOUSTON, TX – If you owe child support in Texas, you won’t be able to renew your car registration.

Starting in December, anyone who misses paying child support for six straight months will have to resume payments before they’re able to renew their vehicle registration.

The Texas Attorney General’s office says the new policy will effect up to 2,000 people in Texas each month.

“We’re going to use every tool that we can to collect support that is due to children and families, and that’s why this initiative is being pursued,” Janece Rolfe, a spokeswoman for the Child Support Division, told The Texas Tribune in an interview last week.

Rolfe said parents will receive a letter before their vehicle registration expires with information about the steps they can take to remove the hold on their renewal.

Parents will not be required to pay the total amount they owe in order to renew their registration. Instead, a payment arrangement must be set up and fulfilled.

So far, the new policy has received missed-reviews.

Texas attorney Tim Mahoney told The Texas Tribune that in his experience with child support cases, many times the issue of paying support arises when parent are unable to afford the payments, not because they’re avoiding them.

“I think it’s really bad in terms of public policy because if you’re wanting people to pay child support, it would be really good if you could provide them with the means to earn a living,” Mahoney told The Texas Tribune.

Drivers in Texas must renew their vehicle registration once a year. The state charges a renewal fee of $50.75, and many local counties also add on an additional fee.

This is the full statement about the new policy from the Texas Attorney General’s office:

“The OAG’s Child Support Division uses every available means to gain compliance with court orders and get lawfully obligated money to children. Because of the Texas program’s multifaceted approach, it is first among 54 states, territories and districts for the amount of child support collected; the amount of child support collected per employee; and cost effectiveness.

Our office has worked closely with tax assessor-collectors across the state to make the new process as seamless as possible. We appreciate the role these officials will play in helping children in their communities receive the financial support they are due.

It is not the desire of the OAG to take away a parent’s transportation; it is our desire to see that Texas children receive court ordered child support.”

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