Attorney Gen. of Tex. v. Stevens

In Attorney Gen. of Tex. v. Stevens, 84 S.W.3d 720, 722 (Tex. App.-Houston 1st Dist. 2002, no pet.), the Houston First Court of Appeals considered whether a Social Security payment to a child was a proper credit towards child support arrearage to which the parent was entitled "as a matter of equity and law." That court analyzed the language of sections 157.262 and 158.008 and determined that "counterclaims and offsets must be found exclusively in the family code." Id. at 724. The Houston First Court of Appeals declined to follow case law permitting Social Security payments to be credited toward satisfaction of court-ordered child support payments. The Houston First Court of Appeals's overriding consideration was "the binding provisions" of the family code. Id. at 725. That court also determined that equitable factors favored the denial of the credit. Specifically, payment of arrearage serves two purposes: (1) fulfilling a previously unfulfilled duty to the child, and ; (2) reimbursing the custodial parent for extra resources expended to support the child. Id. "Giving credit to Stevens for a Social Security dependent's disability payment made directly to his adult son may arguably serve the first purpose, but it ignores the second." Id.