Texas, like other states, requires both parents to financially provide for their child or children. The Child Support Division of the Office of the Attorney General is responsible for ensuring that noncustodial parents provide necessary monetary support.

If you are divorcing or do not live with your child’s other parent and have custody of your child, you can apply online for child support services. If necessary, the agency can also help you establish paternity and/or locate the other parent, as well as enforce support orders that a spouse has not upheld.

What happens after I apply?

Once you complete an application for child support services either at the Child Support Division website or through the mail, you will be scheduled for a Child Support Review Process meeting. Both parents attend the meeting, which usually lasts about an hour, along with a child support officer who will help you negotiate an agreement that works for both parents and meets state family law guidelines. The judge will then approve this agreement and you will begin receiving monthly support as ordered.

What if we can’t agree?

Sometimes, parents are unable to agree on a fair child support amount. If this occurs, the officer will schedule a court hearing, which gives both parties an additional opportunity to negotiate. You will receive notice through the mail of your scheduled hearing. If you do not attend or if you are still unable to come to an agreement, the judge will make a legally binding determination of child support.

How is support calculated?

In Texas, the parent who spends less time with the child is the noncustodial parent and typically pays support. The court will calculate the amount based on the noncustodial parent’s net monthly income. The guidelines require the noncustodial parent to pay 20% of his or her net income for one child, 25% for two children and so on, up to a cap of 40%.

Parents have an opportunity to create a support solution that works for their child and family situation. However, the court guidelines provide a starting point for negotiation and ideally, agreement.