Inside the Office of the Attorney General of Texas (Child Support Division): an Expose
(Child Support Division): an Exposé
The inefficiencies of a bumbling, incompetent, arrogant, out-of-control, mismanaged, poorly-run bureaucracy.   An inside look, from a former employee.

Why did the Attorney General people
stick their noses into my case?

[This is addressed to MOMS only]

You either applied specifically for AG services ("Please, guys, help me get some child support") or you didn't. Let's say you didn't.   All you did was apply for AFDC (now referred to as TANF), and next thing you know, you're involved in a Court case.   And you're being threatened that if you don't cooperate   —   if you don't show up in Court like you're supposed to   —   your benefits will be cut off.   The AG refers to this as being "non-co-opped."

This is a kind of a long story, but here goes:

Around 1980, the folks in the federal government noticed that they were sending an awful lot of welfare money to the 50 States.   The States needed it to give to single mothers (some of them were unwed mothers, and some were divorcees) who couldn't feed their children.   They couldn't feed their children because they weren't receiving any child support.   They weren't receiving child support for one of two reasons: (1) the child was illegitimate, and there was no order requiring any man to pay any child support, or (2) the child WAS legitimate   —   the father was divorced from the mother, and there WAS a child support order   —   only Dad wasn't paying.   Mom couldn't afford to hire a lawyer to take Dad to Court to enforce the child support order (or to establish paternity); hell, she couldn't even afford to feed her child.

This was a pretty bad situation and, as a result, the American taxpayers were supporting a lot of children that belonged to other people.   Because tax dollars were being used to feed these children, the fathers were getting a free ride.

So Congress passed a law (Title IV, Section D of the Social Security Act) which required each State to set up a child support enforcement office of some kind.   It would have attorneys and support staff.   It would establish paternity where paternity had never been established, and enforce any existing child support orders.

Congress said to the individual States: "Either do this   —   start forcing these fathers to support their children   —   or we'll stop sending you federal tax dollars."   To put it another way, the federal government said, "If you want us to give you [states] back the dollars that we forced your citizens to pay to us [the feds] in the form of federal taxes, you have to do what we say."

This is how the federal government made the States reduce their speed limits to 55 mph all those years ago: blackmail.   Do it, or we won't give you (States) federal money.

The States quickly complied.   For instance, in Texas, it had always been unconstitutional (a violation of the TEXAS Constitution) to garnish wages; Texas actually AMENDED its own Constitution in 1982 so that wages could be garnished for child support.

Now in Kansas, they may have set up a special independent state agency called the Kansas Child Support Agency.   In Nevada, it might be the District Attorney's Office.   But in Texas, the state agency that was created to respond to the federal government's demands was the Child Support Division of the Attorney General's Office.   What does a state Attorney General have to do with collecting child support?   What's the logical connection?   There isn't one.   But somebody had to do it.   The State Legislature, in its infinite wisdom, decided that they'd create a special division in the Office of the Attorney General rather than make up a separate, independent state agency.

A lawyer who works for them is called an Assistant Attorney General.

Bottom line: You're in Court because they have to drag you into Court.   You (Mom) are getting money from the State, so the State has to try to get money from Dad.