Texas Child Support Payments

You've finally gotten through the difficult process of divorce and have a child support order in place. But you still have questions. For instance, what exactly does child support cover? How long will you be receiving payments? And how, exactly, will you get the money? If you're the obligor -- the parent making payments -- you also may have similar questions. The following information summarizes the main points regarding Texas child support payments.

Texas Child Support Payments at a Glance

When you need to get up to speed on how to pay or receive child support payments, the last thing you want to do is wade through dense legal texts. That's why we've highlighted the basics of Texas child support payments in the helpful chart below.

Statutes

Texas Family Code Section 231.001, et seq.

Duration of Parental Child Support Obligation

Generally, the obligor (the parent paying child support) is responsible for their child support obligation until:

  1. The child is 18 or graduates high school, whichever comes first;
  2. The child is emancipated through marriage, through a court order, or other legal means; or
  3. The child dies.

Note: If the child is disabled, child support may be required after reaching 18 or graduating high school.

What Child Support Covers

Texas law does not specify exactly what child support does and doesn't cover, beyond the basics listed below (the details are often ironed-out in mediation):

  • Basic Necessities - This includes food, shelter, and clothing;
  • Education - Including any additional costs associated with schooling, such as school supplies, sporting goods, musical instruments, tutoring, etc.; and
  • Medical Care - Obligor must either include child on their health insurance policy, reimburse the other parent for medical coverage, or pay a court-determined amount to cover medical care (up to 9% of annual gross income).

Child Support Payment Options

Texas provides a wide variety of options for obligors to make child support payments (third-party processors typically charge a fee). In most instances, you will need your Office of the Attorney General-issued 10-digit case number (visit Child Support Interactive for details) and the noncustodial parent's last name:

Walk-in Cash Payments

  • TouchPay - Self-service kiosks located throughout the state (accepts U.S. cash, Visa/Mastercard credit and debit cards).
  • Fidelity Express - An alternative to mailing payments, you may make cash payments at their retail locations.
  • MoneyGram - In various Walmart, CVS and other retail locations.

By Phone/Online Using Credit Card

  • Smart e-Pay - Pay with a credit/debit card by following the link provided or by calling 1-855-853-8286.
  • MoneyGram - Pay with a credit/debit card by following the link provided.

By Bank Draft

  • Smart e-Pay - This system debits your bank through a secure, online process (with no fee); you may set up a schedule for payments.

By Mail

  • You may send a check or money order to the State Disbursement Unit (SDU) if you have been ordered to do so.
  • Include the following information on your check or money order: 10-digit case number; cause number (ID number found on the court case establishing the support order); noncustodial parent's name; and custodial parent's name.
  • Make checks payable to the Office of the Attorney General and send to the following address:

State Disbursement Unit (SDU)
P.O. Box 659791
San Antonio, TX 78265-9791

Receiving Child Support Payments

Obligees (those receiving child support payments) have 2 general options for receiving payment:

  • Direct Deposit - To enroll, either log into your Child Support Interactive account (enter your Customer Identification Number and Personal Identification Number) or complete the Direct Deposit Authorization Form and email, fax, or mail it to the following address:

Email: TXSDUHelp@texasattorneygeneral.gov
Fax: (210) 924-4104

Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit
P.O. Box 659400
San Antonio, Texas 78265

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 Payment: Related Resources

Paying or Seeking Child Support in Texas? Let a Professional Help

Whether you're trying to get a sense of what child support actually covers, need help making payments, or have other concerns, often your best option is to work with an attorney. If you have questions or need representation, consider reaching out to an experienced Texas child support attorney near you today.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.