Even in these tough economic times when everybody is struggling to make ends meet, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot takes child support collection seriously.

Over the last year, Abbot's office collected $2.9 billion in child support payments. The Texas AG has been recognized for the third consecutive year by the Western Interstate Council for Child Support Enforcement for his achievements in child support collection.

Abbot's office has set up a most wanted child support evader's list to assist in tracking down parents in default of payments. Parents failing to pay $5,000 or more in child support make the list. Once on list, warrants are issued for arrest.

For some making the list, there is no criminal record to speak of other than non-payment of child support. Typically the offenders are men, but in some cases fathers have custody and the mother has fallen into delinquency on child support payments.

According to statistics, children who go without adequate financial support are less likely to succeed in school and more likely to drop out. Children without the support of two parents are more likely to lack self-confidence and more likely to engage in dangerous activity.

While the economy has certainly had its effect on child support collection, Texas has recently seen an increase in child support collections along with the increase in hiring. One important reason for this is federal and state new hire reporting laws.

Under the Federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, employers are required to report new employees to a state directory. Under Georgia law, employers are required to report new hires to the state directory within 10 days of their hire date. New hire reporting, according to the Georgia New Hire Reporting Website, expedites the child support income withholding process, facilitates collection of payments from parents frequently changing jobs, and assists in locating non-custodial parents with the aim of establishing paternity and child support orders.

Compliance with federal and state new hire reporting requirements accounted for 81 percent of child support collections in Texas in 2010.

With the economy still struggling to pick itself back up, there are undoubtedly still many struggling to make their child support payments while still making ends meet. Various circumstances can affect a parent's ability to pay child support, such as losing a job, taking on other responsibilities, or dealing with other necessary expenses. Sometimes modification of a child support order is necessary. In those cases, courts will sometimes temporarily or permanently modify the order to account for changed circumstances.

Source: examiner.com, "Texas Attorney General and prosecutors lead nation in child support collection," Edward Lane, 4 Jan 2011.