Few attorneys in private practice in the DFW area have as much experience in child support court, otherwise known as AG (Attorney General) court or IV-D Court, as Jonathan Fox.
Jonathan was an assistant attorney general in the child support division for about eight years and was named Assistant Attorney General of the Year for the Fort Worth region in 2016.
Jonathan handled literally thousands of cases as an AAG. Other private attorneys often consult with him when faced with difficult issues in IV-D Court.
The Texas Attorney General is in charge of the State of Texas’s child support program, which is mostly funded with federal funds. The Attorney General is tasked with establishing, modifying, and enforcing child support orders.
The program has offices statewide, has a large staff of lawyers and nonlawyers, and has powerful tools it uses to collect more than $4 billion yearly in child support for distribution to parents to whom child support is owed.
Although anyone can apply for IV-D child support services, a large chunk of the Attorney General’s caseload originates from single parents who sign up for Medicaid and other state assistance programs. These parents are required to have a child support case with the Attorney General.
Most of the Attorney General’s customer base involves unmarried parents.
The Attorney General is tasked with establishing child support orders for these families. This involves filing a case, serving both parties, and setting hearings in court to adjudicate the matter.
It is important to keep in mind that one of the state’s main goals in this program is to recoup funds spent on state assistance programs such as Medicaid, and the state has no legal obligation to act in the best interest of the child.
The State only Represents the State
While the State’s interests often overlap with so-called custodial parents, ultimately the state does not represent moms, dads, or children in Court. The AG also has a huge caseload and will be unable to give personalized attention that many cases require.
Therefore, having your own attorney in IV-D court is crucial to protect your interests, whether you are a mom or a dad, and your kids live with you most of the time or some of the time.
The Attorney General also has Child Support Review Process (CSRP) conferences in its field offices in which it seeks to broker agreements between the agency and parents, who are sometimes discouraged from bringing attorneys to these conferences.
Unfortunately, incorrect information about the rights of parents is often given out by well intentioned AG staff members during CSRP conferences, and parents feel they are required to agree to an outdated, one-size-fits-all child custody and support agreement that may not fit their circumstances.
Agreements not Required
Generally, it is not advised to make an agreement with the AG in the CSRP conference and no one is required to agree to anything (indeed, you never are required to agree to anything when it comes to AG matters). If an agreement is not reached then the AG will usually file the matter for Court.
It is highly recommended that parties ask for a DNA test during the establishment of a child support order. This is free through the AG and will save a lot of headache later.
If a man agrees to be adjudicated as a father in a child support order but later finds out he is not the father, it may be impossible to get him un-adjudicated as father later on. Certainly, it will be difficult to do so, but Jonathan has the experience to handle such situations.
Strongly consider hiring Jonathan to represent you if you are involved in a matter in AG court.