Southern state using novel methods to collect back child support

Previously, our blog reported on a rather novel law passed by the Louisiana state legislature back in 2010 to help offset the staggering amount of back child support – over $1 billion – owed to thousands of children throughout that state.

Specifically, lawmakers passed a measure indicating that parents who are behind on their child support and who win at least $1,200 at a slot machine will have their winnings confiscated by casino personnel.

The specifics of the law dictate that any person who wins at least $1,200 at a Louisiana casino will have their names entered into a database created by the Department of Children and Family Services to determine whether they owe back child support. (Under federal tax reporting requirements, casinos are already required to lock slot machines when they pay out $1,200 or more, so this amount was not chosen arbitrarily.)

If the casino determines that the person owes back child support, it will confiscate the amount owed from the gambling winnings and return any excess to the person.

Thus far, the program appears to be performing as intended.

Since 2011, state officials have seized almost $850,000 in casino slot machine winnings from 18 different casinos across the state. The largest seizure to date took place this past December, when a delinquent parent had $23,398.42 in gambling winnings seized to cover arrears in child support cases involving four children.

Interestingly, the state of Louisiana is also employing other methods to collect back child support, including intercepting settlements associated with the 2010 BP oil rig explosion/leak, and both federal and state tax refunds.

Despite the millions of dollars brought in by all of these interception efforts, DCFS officials indicate that the total amount of child support arrears is still unacceptably high, reaching $1.33 billion in December 2012.

To learn more about nonpayment of child support or other post-divorce issues, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Advocate, “La. using new sources to collect child support,” Michelle Millhollon, Feb. 5, 2013