In Texas, obtaining child support typically involves a legal process that ensures non-custodial parents financially support their children. Our friends at Brandy Austin Law Firm explore the steps to get child support in Texas below:
1. Establish Paternity: If paternity hasn’t already been established, you’ll need to do so. Establishing paternity is what gives you the right to ask a court for things like child support, custody, or visitation hours. This can be done voluntarily by both parents signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form at the hospital when the child is born or by petitioning the court. If paternity is contested, genetic testing may be required.
2. File a Child Support Application: You can apply for child support services through the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division. You can apply online, by mail, or in person at your local child support office. The application will require information about you, the other parent, and the child, as well as any existing court orders. Some of the information included in these forms is contact information, employment history, and social security number.
3. Locate the Non-Custodial Parent: To establish child support, the state needs to know the whereabouts of the non-custodial parent. You’ll need to provide as much information as possible about the other parent’s location, employment, and other relevant details. The state may use various tools, such as databases, to locate the parent.
4. Establish a Child Support Order: If the other parent contests or disputes paternity, you may need to go to court to establish a child support order. This often involves appearing before a judge who will determine the child support amount based on Texas Child Support Guidelines.
5. Calculate Child Support Amount: The state of Texas has guidelines for calculating child support payments. The amount is based on the non-custodial parent’s income, the number of children, and other relevant factors. You can use the Texas Child Support Calculator available on the Attorney General’s website to estimate the amount.
6. Enforce Child Support: If the non-custodial parent fails to make child support payments, the state can help enforce the order. Enforcement actions may include wage garnishment, seizing tax refunds, suspension of driver’s or professional licenses, or legal action.
7. Modify Child Support: If there are significant changes in circumstances (e.g., changes in income, custody arrangements, or the child’s needs), you can request a modification of the child support order. You’ll need to file a modification petition with the court.
8. Keep Records: Maintain accurate records of all child support payments and correspondence related to the case. This will help if you need to prove non-payment or make modifications in the future.
It’s important to note that seeking the assistance of the Texas Child Support Division is not mandatory. However, it can be a helpful resource in managing and enforcing child support. If
you prefer to handle child support matters privately, you can also work with a child visitation lawyer to establish and enforce child support and visitation orders.
These are just the general steps for getting child support in Texas, for specific guidance on your situation, consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in family law. This legal process can be difficult and confusing and an attorney will be able to help you navigate through each step.