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Texas Child Support System Not Upgraded After Three Years

Divorce often hits children very hard. While parents look forward to a better life ahead after the divorce, children often feel insecure when their parents do not live under the same roof. Still, in the best interest of the child, the courts, including those in Texas, generally orders one parent to take custody of the child and order the other parent to pay child support. Like other states, it is mandatory to pay child support in Texas. There is an enforcement department in every state.

The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, is now attempting to revamp the state’s approach to child support enforcement. The government is in negotiations with the lead contractor to upgrade the child support enforcement system. The Attorney General’s office plans to restructure the system, a system with a price tag that has gone beyond $70 million. The Attorney General’s office has stated that the main objective is to establish a top-quality child support system for Texas families. Even now, only 50 percent of the Attorney General’s budget is allocated for child support enforcement. For many years, the agency has collected large amounts of child support.

The Attorney General’s proposal involves updating computers. State employees depend on a computer system for managing child support cases. The computer helps employees collect child support, locate non-custodial parents, and distribute funds to the child’s custodial parents.

However, the system is based on an unstable framework that was developed two decades ago. The system has become more and more difficult to manage over time. Because the system is slow, it is also difficult to train new employees. With the present system, it takes a long time to delete outdated information. However, under the new system, that would happen automatically. Initially, the system upgrade was supposed to happen in 2012. However, up to now, the old system could not be upgraded to the new system.

Source: The Texas Tribune, “Upgrade of AG’s Child Support System Facing Problems,” Aman Batheja, July 16, 2015