Editorials

New child support policy needs polishing

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Texas drivers must get their vehicles inspected and renew the registration every year except for new vehicles.
Texas drivers must get their vehicles inspected and renew the registration every year except for new vehicles. Star-Telegram archives

The Texas attorney general’s office will start a new way to go after child support scofflaws: denying vehicle registration renewal.

Although the state can already suspend vehicle, professional and recreational licenses, the attorney general’s office will start blocking registration renewals to get child support evaders to pay up.

The new initiative will start in the fall, and it will block vehicle registration renewal for anyone who owes at least six months of child support.

A payment arrangement must be made, but the payment need not be paid in full to get the block removed.

The new policy could work and add one more avenue of catching evaders, but it could have unwanted repercussions.

One attorney, Tim Mahoney, told The Texas Tribune that most evaders can’t afford payments. Another, Leslie Hope, said it would be more effective for the attorney general’s office to revoke a driver’s license, although she hasn’t seen it done.

Both offered up scenarios under which child support delinquents could still evade the new policy while others, who genuinely can’t make the payments, are left with no way to get to work and earn money to pay.

The policy ultimately creates more issues than solutions.

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