You should know what rights or responsibilities you have for child support if you have a child with someone with whom you are not in a relationship. If you are a parent who needs child support or a parent who has to pay child support, you should know what the laws require of you and the other parent. If you are a Texan, the Texas Attorney General’s Office is in charge of providing you the basic information about child support.

Who Needs to Pay Child Support?

The noncustodial parent is the one responsible for paying child support. Even if physical custody is split equally, one parent may still have to pay child support if they earn more than the other parent.

How Can I Obtain Child Support?

You can get child support through the court system or with the help of the Texas Attorney General’s Office’s Child Support Division. When you are filling out the forms to apply for child support, it would help if you have the other parent’s social security number, and date of birth, as well as information about their employment, their financial status, and their current location. This information can help the court determine the amount of child support that should be paid and process the paperwork associated with finalizing a child support order.

What If I Refuse to Pay Child Support?

There are many serious consequences that you will face if you fail to adhere to a child support order. The state can order that the money be taken from your paycheck, tax refund, or lottery winnings. Your property may have a lien put up against it. Hunting, fishing, professional and driver’s licenses can be taken away from you or your applications for them may be denied. In some cases, the court may even have you arrested and put in jail.

Can My Visitation Be Taken Away For Not Paying?

Even if you are not up to date on your child support payments, you still have a right to see your child. The other parent cannot deny your visits that are stated in the visitation order for nonpayment. If the other parent is not letting you see your child, you can go to court and ask the court to enforce the visitation order.

How Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

If you want to terminate child support, be careful that you only do so with the approval of the court. Stopping payments on your own without clearing it with anyone can lead to serious issues for you.

Child support ends in Texas when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens later.  Also, child support can be terminated if the child is emancipated or gets married. You are no longer required to pay child support if you end up with custody of the child, but you then may be entitled to it. Finally, if you believe you are not the father, you can ask that a paternity test be done so that you are no longer responsible for child support.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

It is in your best interest to contact a Texas child support lawyer right away if you are having trouble with child support. A lawyer can aid you through the process of setting up child support and represent you if you go to court to modify or enforce the child support order.