Child support in Texas follows a certain guideline of rules. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Texas child support.

In Texas, child support orders cover three types of support: child support, medical support, and dental support. In addition to types of support, Texas child support orders cover custody and visitation regulations. Noncustodial parents will pay child support each month.

Who is in charge of regulating child support in Texas?

The Child Support Division is in charge of regulating child support in Texas. The division will monitor the collection and disbursement of payments.

Who enforces child support orders?

The Office of the Attorney General is responsible for enforcing child support orders in Texas.

What is a noncustodial parent?

In Texas, a noncustodial parent, or possessory conservator, has certain legal rights to a child, but they do not have primary custody of the child. In Texas, The Standard Possession Order determines the rights of a noncustodial parent.

Related: Mothers’ Child Support Rights in Texas

I am not married to the mother of my child – will I have legal rights to my child?

For unmarried parents, the biological mother retains all legal rights to the child until the father establishes paternity. This rule does not apply to married parents.

Related: Does Cheating Affect Child Support in Texas?

How can I establish the paternity of my child?

There are three ways to establish the paternity of a child in Texas. The first way, voluntary paternity establishment, solely establish the child’s legal father. The second two agreed paternity orders and court-ordered paternity, establish the child’s legal father and legal rights regarding child support and custody.

How do I pay for child support in Texas?

There are multiple methods for a parent to pay child support in Texas, including pay by credit/debit card, mail, cash or money order, kiosk, wage withholding, or bank auto-draft. If a parent wants to make a payment at a child support pay kiosk location, they can find the closest location on the Attorney General of Texas website.

How can I receive my child support payments?

The Texas Payment Card and direct deposit are the two methods to receive child support payments in Texas. The Texas Payment Card is a free, prepaid, reloadable card. It is a smiONE Visa Prepaid Card, which is usable at any location accepting VISA debit cards. The Texas Payment Card loads with child support payments each month, and the card does not require a bank account.

How can I modify my child support payments?

A parent can change their method of payment at any point. However, the only way the child support payment amount can change is through a court order.

What happens if I miss a child support payment?

If a parent misses a child support payment, the court will total the unpaid amount with the following payment. The debt will continue to grow at a 6% interest rate until the parent pays it off completely.

Can visitation orders be enforced?

No, Texas cannot enforce visitation orders.

Are there resources available for incarcerated parents in Texas?

The Child Support Division supports incarcerated parents by educating local criminal justice agencies and community partners about the child support system. The Child Support Division also works with friends and families of incarcerated parents, especially those who serve as liaisons for an incarcerated parent.

What does it mean to serve as a liaison for an incarcerated parent?

A liaison is a trusted representative of an incarcerated parent who works closely with the Child Support Division to work on the incarcerated parent’s open child support case. An incarcerated parent must complete the Authorization for Release of Information or Payment form for a trusted family member or friend to serve as their liaison.

What types of child support programs are available?

The Child Support Division runs several different child support programs in Texas. Some of these programs include Parenting and Paternity Test Awareness (p.a.p.a.), Noncustodial Parent (NCP) Choices, Intern, Volunteer, and Outreach Program, and HEROES Program. Programs regarding incarcerated parents and access and visitation regulations are available.

What is the Parenting and Paternity Test Awareness (p.a.p.a.) program?

The p.a.p.a. program educates young adults on the important factors that can impact parenting, such as education, career path, and relationships. The Office of the Attorney General provides an accessible curriculum through the program to the school district and community programs.

What is the Noncustodial Parent (NCP) Choices program?

The NCP Choices program has multiple ways of supporting noncustodial parents, including personal career counselors, support services, and career planning. To receive assistance from the program, a noncustodial parent must be court-ordered into the program.

What is the Intern, Volunteer, and Outreach Program?

The Intern, Volunteer, and Outreach Program raises awareness of the child support process by reaching out to organizations and groups in different Texas communities. Interns and volunteers play an instrumental role in aiding the Child Support Division through this program. To apply to be an intern or volunteer, use the form on the Attorney General of Texas website.

What is the HEROES Program?

The Help Establishing Responsive Orders and Ensuring Support, or HEROES Program, aims to support service members and their families. Families can work with a dedicated HEROES child support attorney through the program to receive special assistance, case review, and other resources. To contact someone from the HEROES program, complete the form on the Attorney General of Texas website, or call 512-460-6400.

Are there government-run access and visitation services in Texas?

The Office of the Attorney General cannot use child support funding for access and visitation services per federal government regulations. However, special funding from local organizations supports certain services like the Office of the Attorney General’s Access and Visitation Program. These resources help noncustodial parents gain access and visitation rights to their children.

What is the Texas Access and Visitation Hotline?

Texas is the only state that provides parents with free phone access to reach child support and parenting specialists through the Texas Access and Visitation Hotline. Parents can call 866-292-4636, Monday-Friday from 1-5 pm, or visit the hotline’s partner website, www.txaccess.org.

Will bankruptcy affect child support payments?

Noncustodial parents must continue to pay child support regardless of bankruptcy status. However, noncustodial parents may be eligible to lower the payment amount in court. Custodial parents should still receive child support payments even if the noncustodial parent files for bankruptcy. The Office of the Attorney General has several methods of enforcing child support if a noncustodial parent stops making payments.

Related: How Fare Behind on Child Support Constitutes Jail Time in Texas?

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