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Supporting the Future: Navigating Child Support in Texas

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges, especially if you are a single parent.

This is where child support and establishing paternity come into play. In Texas, there are rules and procedures that need to be followed in order to receive child support or establish paternity.

Let’s take a closer look at each topic and what you need to do to successfully navigate through the process.

Child Support in Texas

If you are a custodial parent or caretaker of a child, you have the right to apply for child support in Texas. The Child Support Division (CSD) is the state agency responsible for handling child support cases.

You can apply for child support by visiting a local CSD office or by completing the application online.

Information Required for Application

When applying for child support, you will be required to provide personal information about yourself, the noncustodial parent, and the child. This includes full names, birth dates, social security numbers, and contact information.

Additionally, you will need to provide supporting documents such as a court order establishing paternity, a divorce decree, and income or employment information for both parents.

Additional Information

There are certain situations that may affect your child support case. Domestic violence between the parents may have an impact on the case, as well as communication failures between parents.

It’s important to note that while applying for child support is free, there is a service fee involved. This fee is typically deducted from the first child support payment received.

If you prefer to submit a mail application, you can request an application by calling 1-800-252-8014.

Establishing Paternity in Texas

Establishing paternity is the process of legally determining the biological father of a child. This is important for various reasons, including obtaining child support from the legal father or ensuring the child benefits from any legal rights and inheritance.

Let’s take a look at the two possible ways to establish paternity in Texas.

Voluntary Acknowledge of Paternity (AOP)

If the parents of the child are unmarried, they can establish paternity by signing an AOP form. This form is typically available at the hospital where the child was born or at a local Vital Statistics office.

Both parents will need to sign the form in the presence of a notary public or witnessed by a CSD representative. Once the AOP form is signed and filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics, the legal father will be established.

Involuntary Establishment of Paternity

If the parents are married, the husband will be presumed the legal father. However, if the couple is no longer together and there are doubts regarding paternity, a paternity test can be ordered by a court.

If the test results come back positive, the husband will remain the legal father. If the test results come back negative, the court will issue an order establishing the biological father as the legal father.

Other Considerations

If a child is born within 300 days of the parents’ marriage ending, the husband will be presumed the legal father. If a man wants to challenge paternity, he needs to do so within four years of the child’s birth.

Additionally, establishing paternity in Texas provides a legal framework for father’s rights to custody or visitation.


Navigating the legal system can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to child support and establishing paternity. However, understanding the process and following the necessary steps will help ensure the best outcome for all involved parties.

Remember to provide all the required information and documents when applying for child support or establishing paternity. And if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to the necessary agencies for assistance.

Child support is an essential part of ensuring that children in Texas are well-cared for financially. As a non-custodial parent, it’s important to understand the Texas child support guidelines, what expenses they cover, and how support payments are calculated.

Child Support Coverage in Texas

Texas Child Support Guidelines

The Texas child support guidelines are the legal framework that outlines how child support payments should be calculated in the state. Guidelines are based on the non-custodial parent’s net resources and the number of children that need financial support.

It’s important to note that these guidelines are just a starting point. The court can consider other factors, as well as deviations from the guidelines, based on the best interests of the child.

Basic Needs and Expenses Covered

Child support payments in Texas are intended to cover basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing. However, there are additional expenses, such as medical, educational, and daycare expenses, that can be included in the calculation of child support payments.

Medical expenses can include health insurance premiums and co-payments, while educational expenses can include school tuition and fees. Daycare expenses, such as the cost of a babysitter, can also be included in the calculation of child support payments.

Deviation from Guidelines

In some cases, the court may deviate from the guidelines to ensure the best interests of the child. For example, if a child has special needs that require more financial support, the court may deviate from the guidelines to provide the necessary funding.

Additionally, if the noncustodial parent has significant visitation time, the court may consider this when determining the appropriate amount of child support. The court will ultimately consider all factors before deviating from the guidelines.


Child Support in Texas

Guidelines for Calculating Child Support

Calculating child support in Texas is based on the non-custodial parent’s net resources. This includes the parent’s income from all sources, including salary, bonuses, commissions, and self-employment income.

The Texas Family Code provides detailed guidance on what should be included as net resources, and what deductions or adjustments can be made.

Number of Children and Percentage of Net Resources

Once the non-custodial parent’s net resources have been determined, child support payments are calculated based on a percentage of those resources. The percentage varies based on the number of children involved.

For example, with one child, the percentage is 20% of the net resources. With two children, it’s 25%, and with three children, it’s 30%.

For four or more children, the court will determine an appropriate percentage that is fair to both parents and children. A child support calculator can be used to calculate the estimated amount of child support a non-custodial parent should pay.

Other Considerations

Out of Court Agreements

Parents can also make a child support agreement out of court. This can be done through mediation or other negotiation methods.

However, it’s important to have a lawyer help draft a formal agreement to ensure it meets all legal requirements.

Low Net Income

In some cases, a non-custodial parent may have a low net income, making it difficult to pay the standard child support payments. In this case, the court can order a lower payment amount, or the parents can create an agreement for a lower amount outside of court.


In Texas, calculating child support payments is based on the non-custodial parent’s net resources and the number of children involved. The child support guidelines provide a starting point, but deviations from the guidelines may be made in certain circumstances.

It’s important to include all necessary expenses, such as medical and educational expenses, in the calculation of child support payments. For those with low net incomes, the court may order a lower payment amount, or an agreement can be made outside of court.

By understanding the child support guidelines and how payments are calculated, non-custodial parents can ensure they are contributing to the financial well-being of their children. Enforcing child support payments and modifying them can be challenging, but it’s an essential aspect of ensuring the financial well-being of children in Texas.

Here’s a closer look at how child support enforcement works and how child support payments can be modified. Modifying

Child Support in Texas

Grounds for Modification

Child support payments can be modified if there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances.

This can include a child’s needs changing, job loss, or a significant increase or decrease in income. In order for a modification request to be successful, there must be a showing that the change is significant enough to warrant a new order.

It’s important to note that a request for modification cannot be made until at least three years have passed since the last order, or there has been a significant change in circumstances.

Request for Review

To request a review of a child support order, a

Request for Review form can be filled out and submitted online through the Texas Child Support Enforcement website. This form can also be submitted in person or by mail.

Once the form has been submitted, a case worker will be assigned to review the request and determine if a modification is warranted. It’s important to gather any necessary supporting documentation, such as proof of a job loss or medical expenses for the child.

Court Process

If a

Request for Review is not successful, the parties can still seek a modification through the court process. A child support review process can be requested through the court.

In some cases, the parties may be able to reach an informal agreement on a modification. If an agreement is reached, it must be approved by the court to be legally binding.

If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, a hearing will be held in court. During the hearing, the party seeking the modification will have the burden of proving that there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances to warrant a new order.


Child Support in Texas

Enforcement Tools

If a non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, there are several enforcement tools that can be used to encourage payment. These include:

– License suspension: A non-custodial parent’s driver’s license, professional license, or hunting and fishing license can be suspended if they are behind on child support payments.

– Passport denial: A non-custodial parent’s passport can be denied or revoked if they owe more than $2,500 in child support payments. – Liens: A lien can be placed on a non-custodial parent’s property or assets if they fail to make child support payments.

– Credit bureau reporting: If a non-custodial parent fails to make child support payments, this can be reported to credit bureaus, which can negatively impact their credit rating.

Contempt of Court Charges

If a non-custodial parent repeatedly fails to make child support payments, they may be charged with contempt of court. This can result in fines, jail time, or even felony charges if the amount owed is significant.

It’s important to note that a non-custodial parent cannot be jailed for failure to pay child support alone. However, if they are found in contempt of court, which includes failure to obey a court order to pay child support, they may be sent to jail.

Other Considerations

In some cases, an income withholding order can be issued to ensure that child support payments are automatically deducted from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck. However, this can only be done if the non-custodial parent is employed.

If a non-custodial parent is incarcerated, they are still responsible for paying child support, but they may be able to request a modification based on their change in circumstances.


Enforcing child support and modifying child support payments can be complex. It’s important to understand the tools available for enforcement, such as license suspension, liens, and credit bureau reporting, as well as the legal process for modification.

By staying informed and working with the appropriate agencies, parents can ensure that child support payments are made and meet the needs of their children. Termination of

Child Support in Texas

Child support is typically ordered to ensure that a child’s financial needs are met until they reach a certain age or complete their education.

In Texas, there are specific rules regarding when child support terminates. Let’s take a closer look at the age of termination, college or university fees, and the petition for emancipation.

Age of Termination

In Texas, child support typically terminates when a child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. This means that if a child is still in high school when they turn 18, child support will continue until they graduate.

However, it’s important to note that child support does not automatically stop on a child’s 18th birthday or high school graduation. The custodial parent must inform the child support office about the graduation date in order for the child support order to be modified.

Mentally or Physically Disabled

If a child has a mental or physical disability that renders them unable to support themselves financially, child support may continue beyond the age of 18 or high school graduation. The court will consider the child’s needs and abilities when determining whether child support should be extended.

It’s important to provide appropriate documentation and evidence of the child’s disability to support a request for an extension of child support.

College or University Fees

In Texas, child support is not typically ordered to cover college or university fees. However, there may be specific conditions outlined in the original child support agreement or court order that require the non-custodial parent to contribute to the child’s higher education expenses.

These conditions could include maintaining a certain GPA or attending a university or college within a certain distance from the custodial parent’s home. If the agreement or court order specifies that the non-custodial parent has an obligation to contribute to college or university fees, child support may continue beyond the age of 18 or high school graduation.

Petition for Emancipation

A child may petition for emancipation if they believe they are no longer financially dependent on their parents and are capable of handling their own affairs. To be eligible for emancipation, the child must be at least 16 years old, be living apart from their parents, have a legal source of income, and have the ability to manage their own financial affairs.

If a child is emancipated, child support obligations may cease, as the child is now legally considered an adult. It’s important to note that emancipation does not happen automatically, and a petition must be filed with the court.

The court will consider various factors, such as the child’s age, maturity, and financial independence before making a decision. If the court grants the petition for emancipation, child support may be terminated.


Understanding the rules and regulations regarding the termination of child support in Texas is crucial for both custodial and non-custodial parents. In most cases, child support terminates when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school.

However, if the child has a mental or physical disability, child support may continue beyond these milestones. Additionally, college or university fees are typically not covered by child support, unless specifically outlined in the original agreement or court order.

Emancipation is another route through which child support obligations may cease, but it requires a legal process. By understanding these guidelines, parents can navigate the termination of child support in Texas effectively.

Child support is a crucial aspect of ensuring the financial well-being of children in Texas. This article has covered various topics related to child support, including applying for child support, establishing paternity, modifying child support payments, enforcing child support, and terminating child support.

Understanding the guidelines and processes involved is essential for both custodial and non-custodial parents. Whether it’s applying for support, calculating payments, or navigating the legal system, being knowledgeable and proactive can ensure the best outcomes for children.

Child support is not just a legal obligation but a means to support children’s basic needs, education, and overall well-being. By staying informed and participating in the process, parents can provide the necessary financial support their children deserve.

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