Lonny Lincoln has been paying his ex-wife $165 in child support for seven years. His current wife, Traci, makes sure it gets paid every month. But recently, the Lincoln's had to pay $3,300 in child support to the Texas Attorney General's office in order to get back control of their bank accounts. But even then, that payment completely wiped out all the money they had.
"I think that the Attorney General's office is doing a good job collecting child support, but I think if someone is in compliance with their order and they have not defaulted on that order and there is no explanation of why they did this, I think this is wrong," said Traci Lincoln.
In December of 2000, the courts amended Lonny's child support order. The judge told him to pay $115 a month in current support and $50 to recover the cost of $13,000 in past-due child support. But because Lonny owed so much, regardless if he was making payments, the Attorney General's office froze every single account the Lincoln's had.
"Keep in mind also that in a sense we're doing Mr. Lincoln a favor. He was paying $50 toward back child support and the interest would have built up which means that he would have never paid off his child support debt. It's fairer to him, and his child to make this lump sum of payment," said Attorney General Public Information Officer Janece Keetch.
But the Lincoln's argue they never received a letter or a phone call stating the Attorney General's intentions of freezing their accounts, until the day it happened. But, Keetch says the Attorney General's policy is to give 10 days notice before any action is taken.
The Lincoln's feel they are a victim of the system. "Half of that money was mine. Half of that business was mine, half of that personal account was mine and my children and they took away from them and they wiped us out," said Traci.
And because the Lincoln's account was on hold, 30 checks that bounced. The Lincoln's are looking into filling a lawsuit against the state.