LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. — In Lauderdale County, the District Attorney’s Office has issued more than 200 warrants as part of a “round up” for parents who have made no effort to pay child support.
The combined total of the amount owed is at least $3 million. That includes more than $1 million in actual child support in addition to the interest that has accrued.
Child Support Coordinator Christina Martin said challenges of the pandemic led to nonviolent offenders not being arrested and as a result, many just didn’t pay.
With warrants now issued, Martin added that parents who don’t pay can now be arrested—but that’s not the goal.
“We’re just trying to get the word out because we really don’t want to fill the jails up or we don’t want anybody to go to jail; we just want them to call our office and make an arrangement,” Martin said.
Martin said the DA’s office has begun to see a response since the warrants were issued. Since June 21, around $26,000 has been collected.
She added that if you owe back child support and the DA’s office contacts you, don’t let fear deter you from responding.
“We’re trying really hard to work with everyone because every situation is different so we’re trying to take a case-by-case and just do what’s best for the defendant,” Martin explained.
If the DA’s office contacts you or you discover that there is a warrant out for your arrest, Martin said the first thing you should do is contact the Child Support Unit.
“We’ve worked really hard in collaboration with DHR Child Support Unit and the sheriff’s department to get these warrants taken care of,” Martin said.
The DA’s office said the child support “round-up” will continue until it can help the parents get back on track.