AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A million Texas parents pay child support, but 460,000 were delinquent by at least a month and nearly $11 billion is unpaid, a government report said Monday.
The U.S. Administration for Child and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, estimates $10.8 billion was past due in Texas at the start of 2011, and the figure is growing due to a fluctuating economy and erratic jobless rates, the Houston Chronicle reported Monday.
In Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston, 42 percent of those ordered to pay child support are past due on payments. The statistic is 43 percent in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, and 46 percent in Dallas County, which includes Dallas, the Texas Attorney General's Office's latest records indicate.
"Consistent complete child support is critical for most families. When the support is not paid or is incomplete or late, the rent or house payment, car payment or food or school expenses suffer. Late fees accrue on rent and autos and the downward spiral continues," commented Terry Elizondo, a Houston-based attorney specializing in family law.