Attorneys May Have Found Procedural Kinks in New Child Support Laws - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/17/02

Attorneys May Have Found Procedural Kinks in New Child Support Laws

Legal experts say there could be procedural kinks in the child support collection system that's costing some Lubbock familes hundreds of dollars. Another Lubbock man who pays child support feels the system could use some tweeking.

Terry Moore is writing Texas Senator Robert Duncan a letter. The letter asks Senator Duncan to help make changes to an aggressive child support system that Terry says is doing more harm than good. "Either retroactive it all the way back to the beginning, or drop everyone's interest and give everyone an opportunity to make good on their past due debt or abolish it completely," said Moore.

"I've looked back on my own personal accounts for child support. I am paying a higher dollar on top of my child support, and my income tax refund goes directly to the AG's office. Technically, I would have already been paid up. But because of the interest, I'll be paying on him past his 18th birthday," said Moore.

But AG Public Information Officer Janece Keetch says that is money the child is entitled to. "We at the AG's office will do everything we can to make sure that children get the money that is due to them. We have a responsibility as a state agency to follow the law and that is what we will do," said Keetch.

But the fight does not stop at high interest rates. It is also about the AG's office possibly violating constitutional rights and in court agreements. "Once they go into that agreement, I think the surprise many people are having are their accounts being frozen. The families thought they had made suitable arrangements for payment," said attorney Janna Fulfer.

Fulfer has been reviewing the child support law and notices there are some flaws. "Unfortunately, it seems that ultimately the affect on this statute's particular circumstances is that the end result is a procedural unfairness, and actually affects the best interest of the child," said Fulfer.

Fulfer said so far, the new child support collection process has not been challenged in court. But there is a good chance that might change.

NewsChannel 11 tried to contact Senator Robert Duncan, but he was unavailable for comment. Also, Moore suggests writing your senator or consult a family law attorney if you have questions regarding child support.

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