What is Child Support?

Child support is a child’s legal right to be financially supported by both parents. The law assumes that a custodial parent (the parent who has primary custody of a child) directly pays for the child’s expenses. Therefore, a non-custodial parent (the parent who does not have primary custody of the child) may be required to make child support payments to the custodial parent.

The non-custodial parent generally must provide child support until one of the following circumstances occurs:

  • The child turns 18 or graduates high school (whichever is later); or
  • The child marries, dies, or is emancipated.

Child support payments can be used for a variety of expenses including basic necessities, childcare, education, and entertainment.

Who Can Apply for Child Support?

A child’s mother, father, or other qualified adult, such as a legal guardian, may apply for child support from the non-custodial parent.

How Can I Get a Child Support Order?

There are two basic ways to get a child support order in Dallas:

  1. An agreement between parents that is approved by a judge, including an agreement reached during the childs support review process; or
  2. Orders made as part of an existing court case–divorce, paternity, child custody and visitation, or Suit Affecting Parent Child Relationship

In Texas, the Child Support Division of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) serves as the official child support enforcement agency. “Full-Service” assistance from the OAG includes the following:

  • Finding non-custodial parents;
  • Establishing paternity;
  • Initiating, monitoring, and enforcing child support and medical support orders; and
  • Collecting and distributing child support payments.

The OAG also offers “limited services” in the form of payment processing and record keeping through the Texas State Disbursement Unit.

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