A Jeffersonian In East Texas

January 12, 2008

Comment By Reader On Child Support Smith County

Filed under: Uncategorized — ajeffersonian @ 9:26 am
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The following comment was found under:
Smith Officials, Wake Up! We are Trying To Help!

I thought it might be lost there, so I decided to add it here.

I like this website. I’ve got to share my story. I was unfortunately one of those targeted for back child support in Smith County. It’s unfortunate because immediately after my ex-wife and I separated, we both left Smith County! This was almost 10 yrs ago, and I had no clue about the jurisdiction. I had to change careers, and there were some periods when I was out of work. This is when I racked up the back child support. It got up over $10k. Meanwhile, my ex-wife remarried within 2-3 months after the divorce was finalized. Finally I got steady work, and it was just at that time that I received a summons. I showed up in court and was placed on probation. This was a little over 3 yrs ago. I was living in Harris County. The judge ordered me to show up in Smith County once a month to pay my probation officer. I was able to go to it a couple of times, but it became prohibitive. I wasn’t making enough money to afford the gas there and back, plus pay the fees to the probation officer and stay on top of child support. Another hearing was scheduled, and I explained it to the judge (Judge Kent, I think, but can’t swear to it…). I also explained that my present wife is disabled and unable to work, and I am responsible for taking care of her, her stepdaughter, and the son than she and I have had together. The judge didn’t care about the distance; she said people came in from Louisiana all the time, so why should I be any different? I felt like I was being punished for living outside the county. That day, I was required to go to my bank and get a cashiers check for about $300 or they would issue a warrant for my arrest. This, on top of the gas, etc. was killing me. I hired an attorney at that time “to keep me out of jail”. I paid $1000 and figured he had resolved things with Smith County. Now I don’t think he did a damn thing. Then my employer had layoffs. They offered to spare me, however, if I would relocate to another state. I did, and spent the past 3 years there. During this time, I have worked down over half of the back child support. Last year, the state increased my support by $50, to be applied to back child support. I had no problem with that. I made good with the company, and applied for a job which would allow me to transfer back to Texas. I got the job and came back at the end of last year. Everything seemed to be going well. I figured the Smith County Probationary stuff had resolved itself, and with my back child support now being below $5000, was excited about getting that monkey off my back. I’ve gotten to see my children again, and was excited about getting to build some kind of relationship with them. Now I’ve started getting calls from the probation unit again! I said I’m caught up; the account is even scheduled to go on positive status on my credit report this year. They say yeah, but there’s an outstanding warrant and if I get stopped in Texas, I’ll spend up to 10 days in jail while they drag me back to Smith County to appear before the judge. They want me to come in on my own recognizance to address the contempt of court charges. Uggh! I can see it now — I go up there, don’t have much to say other than that I have a great job, am working down the back child support, building a relationship with my children, and don’t have the resources to make the trip to a county none of us have lived in for 9 years! I’m pretty sure the judge will throw me in the clink, and I’ll lose everything…. I think about it all the time now……..Thanks, Smith County! /sarcasm I’m sorry for such a long comment, but I’m curious as to whether or not there are others out there with a story similar to my own.

Comment by InThePoorhouse — January 11, 2008

Editors Note:

There are a lot of them! Hopefully your story will encourage more of them to tell theirs. Thanks for telling it.

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5 Comments »

  1. Update – I attended my hearing yesterday regarding cooperating with the civil probation. Keep in mind that my child support payments are current, and my arrearages are being paid as well. All of this is being taken out of my check. So the only issue with Smith County is their fees for their probation services. I wrote the judge a letter explaining that I live 200 miles away, and my car is falling apart from traveling back and forth to see their PO. No mention was made of this letter. The judge said she’s happy that I’ve complied with their probation terms, and now I only have to see them once a month instead of twice a month. But instead of paying $40 a month, they want me to pay $60 a month. I’m trying to figure out what for? To keep her from saying I’m in contempt of court? And how does my family benefit from all of this?? I am stunned that Smith County is allowed to arbitrarily impose the threat of contempt of court, and that the AG’s office stands by and lets it happen! My kids have lived in another county for 9 years… I guess I’ll have to get an attorney to see about getting this case transferred to the “proper” district (after I get my car fixed). What a NIGHTMARE…..

    Comment by InThePoorhouse — May 20, 2008 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  2. Please someone here my story I know we are not the only people this is happening to. My husband just got arrested on his way to work in the oil field. The Tyler judge put a warrant out for him. The charge? Revoked probation. He is current on child support, it automatically comes out of his check. We pay the $40 per month probation fee, also current. He calls every month to Tyler to let them know the 5 questions they ask when you’re on probation. So why is he revoked his probation? They say b/c he did not drive the 12 hour round trip every month to answer those questions. We use to drive down there and he was literally in there for 5 minutes. In 2008 our landscaping business started to buckle under the pressures of people cutting back and the cost of rising gas prices. So there was no way to come up with around $300 every month to drive to Tyler, an amount nobody benefits from us wasting. We called every month and explained our situation of either paying the cs or driving to Tyler. We chose to pay the support b/c after all it is supposed to be about the kids. There were months when we had to choose between our own house payment and the cs. We chose cs b/c they hang jail over his head like he’s a criminal.. We have been together since he was 20, he is now 34 and we have 3 boys too. We went without a water heater for 7 months but we paid the cs and the probation fee. What did we get for it? My husband of 14 years is sitting in jail b/c we did not rob a bank for him to drive back in forth to Tyler! He has now lost the job that was catching us up and we were scheduled to be in Tyler January 16th and told is probation officer we were catching up and he would be there!!! They put a warrant out in Dec. and did not inform him. He could have turned himself in on his off week and kept his job. But no. A man who’s only crime was not being rich enough for their demands and be stupidly promiscuous at 16 and it has cost him his freedom, my kids their father, and the kids on cs their monthly payment, b/c we did not drive to Tyler. He has changed his whole life around but yet here he is in jail and away from his family who needs him. Everybody was getting their money but nope, wasn’t good enough for Tyler. Now no one will get anything and we will probably loose everything. He is in jail he now has no job. They won’t let him bond out and now when he does get out he won’t have a job to pay next months cs and he will go back to jail! You think this system is for the children no way. Everything I have said is true and his probation officer can back it up. My life, my kid’s life, and my husband’s life were just stolen from us out of the blue, and there is not one thing we can do about it. That’s not JUSTICE! All the kids loose and he is locked up like a criminal, oh I’m sorry criminals get out on bond.. He won’t.

    Comment by Sacy — January 10, 2009 @ 1:45 am | Reply

  3. I am so sorry, for your situations. Justice ,I do not believe in the system. They are not in it for the best interest of the child, it is a business.
    It’s all about the money, and I mean the courts, making money, the jails making money, the family of Attorney’s in the area making money…. They could care less whether the father and child relationship is continued,just pay!!! whatever we tell you to pay. 20% lol my son is in jail he is paying 517.00 a month for one child. The judge will not sign a bench warrant to bring him in to modify his divorce decree. He gave me power of attorney, judge said he wont accept it! So he’s in jail for 1 year, stacking up arrears, and no contact with his son. While she is with her new boyfriend.

    Comment by delicia Lewis — March 13, 2009 @ 1:52 am | Reply

  4. First of all let me start off by saying to the first story: Why were you not responsbile enough to contact the child support office to let them know you both moved from the county and needed it transferred?! That is what I had to do (yes, Im a single mother with a deadbeat for a childs father) It took them a whole 2 seconds to fax me the paperwork and submit it to the county I was now residing in. Good Grief people, take care of your responsibilites and you wouldnt be in such a big mess. I guess you were going to leave it up to the mom to handle all this business, huh? Figures…we already raise YOUR children, work fulltime, some of us go to college full time as well…..might as well pick up your slack cuz your obviously not grown up enough to do it yourself huh? Just like a man! Another thing is that my ex has dodged his child support for 3 yrs now, Last week the total of arrearages was set @ $20,000.00. Why cant you men just TAKE CARE OF YOUR KIDS and do what you are supposed to do and quit belly aching because the STATE is making you handle your business, again because you cant seem to be grown up enough to send in a child support payment on your own….instead you have to have your wages garnished, or pay probation fees….because you wouldnt just SEND IT YOUR DAMN SELF. My ex has dodged the civil process server, and dodged everything that has to do with child support. I have raised my son alone for 3 yrs by myself…..Don’t even act like yals life is sooooo tough…PLEASE

    Comment by Kendra — November 16, 2010 @ 2:32 am | Reply

  5. Update: My son gave up his rights to the child, it was better then having to deal with the ex-wife and her family, that we want nothing to do with now. Some times you just have to let go and let God handle it.

    Comment by Delicia Dawn Lewis — February 16, 2011 @ 11:04 am | Reply


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