I am a single parent that fought for years to get child support for my daughter, who is now 20 years old. Her father never supported her and there is no record of him buying her so much as a pair of shoes. The state of Texas has done nothing to help me collect and has in fact enabled this man. This is my story…
I lived in Texas from 1998 until I moved sometime in 2010, over the course of a decade I tried desperately to get my daughters father to help with the cost of her care, at one point only asking him to pay for half her daycare which at the time was $75 a week-he refused. I finally had few other options but to take him to court. Child support was initially set at $100 a week, which seemed fair. He had been an experienced plumber and had at one time made decent money. Once this order was set he immediately set out to get a lesser paying job and went to court to get that amount lowered. He was surprisingly victorious in this feat and in 2001 the judge lowered his support payments to be set at a $7.50 an hour job (min wage at the time), yet he still did not pay. Over the years the money continued to escalate, I did everything in my power to get it enforced, Texas did nothing. At one point they threatened to suspend his license, he made one payment and they dropped the threat. The money continued to escalate reaching $33,000 by the time she was 18.
I have moved away from Texas in 2010-as did he. I tried to get the case transferred but for some reason was unable to. Finally, last year he moved back to Texas and is now renting a room from my estranged mother. Paying probably nothing in rent, however he is working and Texas immediately started taking the $77 a week out of his check. They set a court date and it seemed they were finally going to take action.
I was unable to attend that date because I live half the country away, I am a single parent to a 9-year-old (not the same father) and I DO NOT have the funds to travel to Texas. I am also working on my master’s degree and If I miss the first few days of graduate school I could possibly not be allowed to attend. I wrote the judge and explained my situation and asked to appear telephonically which was denied.
On Aug 25th, right before the hearing, I was called by the court clerk and told the Non-custodial parent (NCP) had presented some evidence that he had given me several thousand dollars, that he had basically been paying me directly. This evidence couldn’t possibly exist because it never happened. I did not hear back from the court after disputing his claim.
On August 26th I called the Texas Child Support Commission with the phone number I was given by the court in an effort to find out what had happened in court the previous day. I do not have the name of the person I spoke with but I was told plainly and clearly that the NCP had given the court a check for $6000 and that I would be receiving that check by the first week of Sept. I asked repeatedly, “You are seriously telling me that he paid $6000 towards the $33,000 that he owes and that *I* am going to get that money?” Repeatedly this was confirmed, overjoyed and elated I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe that after all these years some justice was being done.
The same day I called the CS office and once again was told that yes, I would be receiving a check soon for $6000. That following Monday once again I called not only to verify but to find out just how this money would be sent to me. I was told it was going to be submitted via direct deposit.
The following Tues, Aug 30th, I checked the CSI page and saw that the amount of money the NCP, John Garcia owed had dropped down approximately the amount I had told was going to be paid to me, $6000. However, there was still no record showing payment being sent. Once again I called and once again it was confirmed to me that yes, I was indeed going to receive $6000 and that I had nothing to worry about.
The following day on August 31st I called again, this time to find out just how long it would be until I saw that money. This time I was told no payment was showing. I was given several different numbers to call and for several hours played musical chairs trying to find out just what the situation was.
I finally spoke to someone at the Child Support office in Tarrant County. She explained to me that the NCP had presented a “money order” showing he had paid me $6000 and that money had been credited to the amount he owed. In other words, he went into court with some sort of fraudulent receipt and despite owing more than $30,000 in back child support and not having a DIME towards it, he ended up walking out $6000 lighter on his bill and I wasn’t getting anything DESPITE BEING TOLD MORE THAN THREE TIMES I HAD A CHECK FOR $6000 COMING TO ME.
This is an absolute travesty and I demand to know what happened and I want to not only find out why I had been given such horrific misinformation but why this man who has never supported his child able to present fraudulent paperwork and have $6000 credited to his account. There is no excuse for this. Not only was it despicable to get my hopes up like this only to be let down, but to do absolute nothing to collect anything from this deadbeat.
There is no reasonable excuse for what happened to me. Texas, the courts, the judge, Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton and Judge Cherami Jenkins in the district court of Fort Worth, Texas should be ashamed. Why was this man allowed to walk into a courtroom owing that much money and not pay a dime towards the balance and still walk out owing $6000 LESS? Why was I told on four separate occasions by four separate child support officers that I was going to be receiving a check for $6000 when that was in fact not the case? This is a disgrace.
I have since found other parents going through similar situations within the state of Texas. Why is Texas not enforcing child support payments for these parents that are desperate for some help? Why in some cases is back support piling up to the hundreds of thousands of dollars while Texas does little to support these parents? Texas purports to be tough on child support evaders, that is however not the case for me or thousands of others trying to collect.
I demand an answer and an apology.