child support in texas

Child Support in Texas: The Process and How Much You Receive?

Children need to have the support of both their parents in order to enjoy the best quality life possible. A lack of consistency in support can significantly lower the quality life of any child. Even if parents aren’t together, this support is vital. It is still your responsibility to look after the child. Child support Division of the Office of the Attorney General in Texas is responsible for determining child support for the parents of dependent children.

The Process For Child Support After Divorce

The parent seeking child support should complete the form. The parent can receive the form physically to fill in and submit by mail, but it is best to complete the application online. To determine which form is best for their situation, parents will need to complete a brief survey before accessing the online form. The application process for parents varies depending on the circumstances of each case. You can find an example of an application for a Custodial Parent Wanting to Establish Paternity online.

The parent will need to provide certain information when filling out the application. This includes information about the parent such as date of birth, postal and mailing addresses, social safety number, driver’s license number, telephone number, etc. Information about the other parent, such as their full names, dates of birth, last known addresses, employer details, and so on, is also available. You may also need information about the other parent, such as the name and address of the child, custody parent, relationship between parents, etc. These details helps locate the noncustodial parents so that the notice of child support case can go out and the case can move forward.

After Locating The Noncustodial Parent

If the child was not born to wedlock, the OAG can establish paternity. Parents can sign an Acknowledgement Of Paternity (AOP) if they agree to the child’s paternity. The court may also order a paternity test in cases where there is doubt about the paternity of the child. The DNA test is based on swabs taken from each parent and the child to determine paternity. The results are accurate to 99 percent and available within 4-8 weeks of the collection. They may issue the paternity order if there is confirmation that the man to be the biological father of the child.

The Process For Child Support in Texas

After the establishment paternity, the AOG may establish the child support order and a medical support order.

All child support cases are subject to a $35 annual fee if the support received in a given year exceeds $550. Parents receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits (TANF) are exempt from this fee. Texas charges an additional $3 per month State Disbursement Unit fee (SDU), for parents who are recipients of registry-only services.

How To Receive Child Support in Texas

Texas child support payments are available to the custodial parent via one of two methods. After the first payment is received, these options will be activated. Parents receive their first child support payment in the mail as a check. They would then receive a letter from the Child Support Division allowing them to choose whether they want to receive future payments.

First, you can use a reloadable debit card such as the Texas Payment Card (or the smiONE Visa Prepaid Card). This convenient method of receiving payments does not require parents to have a bank account. This eliminates the need to travel to the bank and makes it easy to track transactions and balances. 

Direct Deposit is another safe and convenient method to receive child support payments. Direct deposit allows payments directly to parents’ bank accounts. It eliminates the need for waiting for checks that might be lost or stolen and removes the risk of them being delayed. To apply for direct deposit, parents must complete a Direct Deposit Authorization form.

The Maximum Amount That Your Family Can Receive

To establish or modify child support obligations, the OAG offers a Child Support Review Process. The local Child Support Division Office usually holds the CSRP. It involves both parents and a Child Support Officer. Depending on the issues that need to be addressed, the meeting can last up to 90 minutes. Both parents must sign the order and it will be on its way to the judge for approval. If the parents are unable to agree on the amount, the case will proceed to court for hearing. A hearing is also available for cases involving one parent, or domestic violence. The judge will consider factors such as the income of the parents, the age of the child and the cost of medical care.

In addition to the child support order, medical or dental support orders may also be made. So, to understand more about the legal process, you can visit the Attorney General of Texas page.

The Office of the Attorney General also offers a child support calculator to get an estimation purposes and may not reflect the exact amount in the final order.

Enforcement of Child Support in Texas

There are often consequences for the child if the noncustodial parent fails pay support. The Office of the Attorney General can take actions to enforce the child support obligation if the parents don’t pay the payments. These actions include suspension of licenses for drivers, professionals, hunters, and fishermen, passport denials (new or renewed applications), lottery intercepts, credit bureau reports, liens on property, bank accounts, and more. Sometimes, the OAG might file a contempt suit against the parent who is not custodial. The parent could be sentenced to jail for this violation.

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