Child Support Enforcement in Texas

If you're a single parent, then you understand how difficult it can be to make ends meet even when your child's other parent is contributing funds each month. But even when you have a child support order in place, the obligor (the individual paying child support, typically the noncustodial parent) doesn't always cooperate. It can be even more difficult securing child support payments when you don't have a court order or when the presumptive father denies paternity. That's why the enforcement of child support by state officials is so important for families.

The Office of the Attorney General is the official child support enforcement agency in Texas. In addition to enforcing payment, the AG's Child Support Division helps locate noncustodial parents, establish paternity, collect and distribute payments, and review and adjust child support orders.

Texas Child Support Enforcement: The Basics

Time is of the essence when you're a single parent and need help covering the rent and putting food on the table. You don't have time to read legalese; you need answers. The following table highlights the basics of how Texas courts enforce child support orders.

Statutes

Texas Family Code Section 231.001, et seq.

Information Needed for Locating a Noncustodial Parent

If you're having trouble locating your child's noncustodial parent, you may not have access to all of the following information. But the more you can provide, the better the odds of locating the parent:

  • Parent's name and current address (or last known);
  • Name and address of parent's current employer;
  • Social Security number and date of birth;
  • Names and addresses of relatives and friends;
  • Names of banks or creditors;
  • Names of organizations, unions, clubs, etc. to which the noncustodial parent belongs; and
  • Places where the noncustodial parent spends their time.

Options for Collecting Overdue (Delinquent) Support

If a noncustodial parent subject to a child support order falls behind in payments or fails to pay, the state has a number of options to compel payment. Procedures vary by case and a judge may sentence a nonpaying parent to jail.

Enforcement options include the following:

  • Requiring employers to deduct court-ordered child support from the noncustodial parent's paycheck through wage withholding;
  • Intercepting federal income tax refund checks, lottery winnings, or other money that may be due from state or federal sources;
  • Filing liens against his or her property or other assets;
  • Suspending driver’s, professional, and hunting and fishing licenses (Noncustodial parents who hold a state license, owe more than 3 months of past-due child support, and are not in compliance with an existing court-ordered or voluntary repayment schedule face license suspension.); and
  • Filing a lawsuit against the noncustodial parent asking the court to enforce its order.

Child Support Enforcement Forms

Contact Information

Contact the Child Support Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas for further assistance at:

  • (800) 252-8014
  • TTY (800) 572-2686

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Texas Child Support Enforcement: Related Resources

Get Professional Legal Help Enforcing a Child Support Order

Child support is an essential legal requirement for noncustodial parents, intended to help cover the expenses involved in raising a child. But not all parents take their responsibilities seriously, or may not even know they have a child in need of support. If you're having difficulty collecting child support, consider getting help from an experienced Texas child support attorney near you.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.