Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support in Texas
- What is Child Support?
- Will I have to Pay Child Support?
- Can I still Visit My Child if I Have Not Paid Support?
- What Role Does Paternity Have in Child Support?
- What Child Support Services are Available in Central Texas?
What is Child Support?
Child support is an arrangement where a non-custodial parent (the parent who does not have full time care of the child) makes monthly payments to the child’s legal guardian. The payments go towards the child’s needs, including food, shelter, medical services, transportation, and even entertainment.
Child support usually lasts until the child turns 18 or graduates high school.
Children who are supported by only one parent often do not have enough money for even basic needs. As result, they may suffer with health challenges that are physical and psychological. Therefore, every child is entitled to financial support and other resources from both parents.
Will I have to Pay Child Support?
Usually, the parent who does not have full time custody of a child is expected to pay child support to help the parent who has full time custody with the expense of raising the child.
Can I still visit my child if I don’t have custody and I am not paying child support?
Child support and visitation are two separate issues. The court determines both and will usually order the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent AND to make the child available for visits.
The custodial parent has a duty to obey the court order for visitation, even if the non-custodial parent cannot or will not pay child support. The court can enforce its order against either parent.
What role does paternity have in child support?
Paternity is about determining fatherhood. If there’s any doubt about the biological father of a child, the court may order a DNA test to establish paternity. The results will play a role in determining who is responsible for paying child support.
If an unmarried father is already providing support, it is still necessary to establish paternity. Because even though the child’s father is providing support, he may change his mind, become disabled, or even die.
In most cases, unmarried parents can ensure certain benefits for their children only if paternity has been established.
If paternity has been established, a child has a legal father and will have the possible right of inheritance from both parents. The child may also be eligible for other benefits such as Social Security, medical insurance, life insurance and veteran’s benefits
What Child Support Services are available in Central Texas?
Child support services is a term that refers to the state or local office responsible for regulating and enforcing child support. As the designated Title IV-D agency, the Office of the Attorney General is responsible for:
- locating absent parents;
- establishing paternity;
- establishing, enforcing and modifying child and medical support orders and
- collecting and distributing child support monies.
It’s important to know about these services so that if you are not receiving child support payments that have been ordered, you can get help in enforcing the court order. Similarly, if you have been paying child support but have an ex-spouse who is disputing that, it is helpful to have an attorney advocate for you if the attorney general’s office has inaccurate information about your payments.
See the Texas General Attorney guide and FAQ for child support for deeper information.
Then, schedule a free consultation with us to explore all of the unique issues that may impact getting or giving child support in your divorce.