Dealing with the Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General
February 17, 2011 2 Comments
by Marissa Balius
The Attorney General of Texas is the child support collection agency in the State of Texas. Dealing with the child support division of the Texas Attorney General (OAG) can be a frustrating process even for the most experienced attorney. Here are some tips that will help you with the process:
- Know your OAG number. You need to provide it on all communications with the OAG. It is your identification number with their office. The number should also be on all communication they send you.
- If the OAG is reporting you have a child support arrearage (back support payments) and you believe that the information they are reporting is wrong, ask for a child support arrearage calculation from their office. This document will show each payment due, each payment made and any interest that has accrued on the account. Take this payment record and every court order that required you to pay or receive child support to your own attorney to review.
- When you call or go into the Attorney General’s office, write the name and title of the person helping you and take good notes of your conversation for future reference. In my experience, they do not always keep good records, and inevitably you will get conflicting information.
- The OAG is not a neutral party. If they are involved in your case they have an interest! Discussions you have with anyone in their office are not protected by attorney-client privilege and can be used against you in court.
- If you are served with a legal document filed by the Attorney General or receive a Notice of Child Support Review Conference, hire an attorney immediately. DO NOT go to court or attend a Child Support Review Conference without your own attorney. You need your own representative to explain the legal process and advocate for you. If you are unable to retain counsel before your first court appearance or Child Support Review appointment, be careful about what you sign. They may have you sign an appearance of counsel or waiver of service or other document that may seem harmless at the time but may adversely affect your case.
- Each child support office has a customer liaison and each region has an ombudsman, a liaison between the public and the child support office that tries to resolve customer complaints. If you are not getting action or the results you and your attorney deem appropriate, ask for the ombudsman’s name and contact information. Lastly, if all else fails, contact your state senator and representative. In the Dallas/Fort Worth area state congressmen have a lot of leverage in dealing with the child support office and in my experience they can get the ball rolling when all else fails.
- The OAG sends out a variety of letters: DO NOT DISCARD THEM. Keep everything you receive as many of the letters have time frames to respond, hearing dates and in-office appointment dates and times. The OAG has the power to ruin your credit, garnish your wages and levy your bank accounts; any correspondence you receive is important!
- Don’t count on their employees for legal advice! By law, they should not be giving legal advice to either parent, and the information they provide is not always accurate.
If you need an expert to help you navigate through a case with the Attorney General’s office please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 214-423-5100.
Marissa Balius knows the ins and outs of the Texas Attorney General’s office. She is an experienced family law litigator with sixteen years of experience, including ten years as an Assistant Attorney General in the Child Support Division.