Lufkin, TX (KTRE) - Files of Child Support cases in Angelina County are housed in the District Clerk's office. And while the rows of files may look like a lot, it is nothing like a few years ago before new efficiencies were implemented. The process has been streamlined and much of the help one needs can be found on the Internet.
"Initially we would refer them to the Attorney General's website, which is www.oag.state.tx.us and the applications and any forms that they may need are there on their website and it's very user friendly. The law doesn't allow us to give legal advice, so we have to direct them to the Attorney General's website," said Angelina County District Clerk Reba Squyres, www.angelinacounty.net/distclerk/.
Squyres says petitioners are allowed to represent themselves and says if the circuit judge or the Attorney General judge sees that they need help and there are many children, then the petitioner will get an ad litem attorney appointed for the children. She says most petitioners are able to do most of the work themselves with the help of the legal assistance with Attorney General's office.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Child Support Division set a new record. Texas has collected more than 2-point-6 billion dollars in child support for the state fiscal year. That number surpasses the previous year's all time record by 300-million dollars. The number is also significant because for the first time ever, Texas' collection rate beat California's, making Texas first in the nation.
"We move the files as fast as possible here, along with them, we have their docket ready, they meet most every Monday, here at the courthouse," Squyres said. "Along with transferring the orders to the Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit on cases that were filed prior to 1994, then we're able to transfer those cases to San Antonio."
Efficient, effective child support collections are credited for the state's success rate.
"We all work together as a unit along with our judges to process the cases efficiently and quickly," said Squyres.
The 2-point-6 billion dollars collected last year helped more than 274-thousand parents on public assistance to become self-sufficient.
"The cases have increased, so there's more parents being responsible for their financial obligation than there were in the past and there's more divorces than there used to be," according to Squyres.
The Angelina County cases alone were responsible for nearly nine million dollars being collected for child support.
Attorney General Case Inquirer
Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit
P.O. Box 659791
San Antonio, TX 78265-9791
Other important ways the Child Support Division helped children and families in Fiscal Year 2008 include: