Texas Child Support
Information, Laws & Enforcement

The Texas Child Support program can work for you. The attorney general's child support division has a responsibility to assist parents in obtaining the financial support necessary for children to grow up and succeed in life. To encourage parental responsibility, the Attorney General establishes paternity of children, establishes court orders for financial and medical support and vigorously enforces support orders. 

The Attorney General promotes the emotional involvement of both parents in the life of the child by working with community groups, schools and hospitals. Attorney General employees will perform their duties in an efficient manner to minimize taxpayer expense and in a friendly fashion to maximize customer satisfaction.

Texas Child Support

Texas Child Support Office of Attorney General

In accordance with state and federal law, the Office of the Attorney General is responsible for the establishment and enforcement of child support.

The Office of the Attorney General represents the state and cannot represent individuals involved in Texas Child Support claims.

The Child Support Division determines, on a case-by-case basis, which of the child support services listed below are appropriate:

  • Locating the absent parent
  • Establishing paternity
  • Establishing and enforcing child support orders
  • Establishing and enforcing medical support orders
  • Reviewing and adjusting child support payments
  • Collecting and distributing child support payments

The Office of the Attorney General provides parents with a full range of child support services at no cost. The services are required by federal law and funded by the federal government and the State of Texas.

Establishing Paternity

Paternity may be voluntarily established by agreement of both the mother and the father of the child. The parents can sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP), which becomes a legal finding of paternity when it is filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics.

If the mother or alleged father is not sure about the paternity of the child, neither should sign an AOP. Paternity should be established through the courts. If the mother applies for services or is referred to the Child Support Division to establish paternity, she will be asked questions about men who may have fathered the child.

It is very important for the mother to provide as much information as she can to help determine the father’s identity. Paternity may be established even if the father is still in school or if he lives in another state.

Parenting and Paternity Awareness (P.A.P.A.)

P.A.P.A. is an innovative educational program designed for secondary school students and young adults. The program deals with rights, responsibilities, and realities of parenting. The Key themes in the program focus on the importance of:

  • Father involvement
  • The value of paternity establishment
  • The legal realities of child support
  • The financial and emotional challenges of single parenting
  • The benefits of both parents being involved in a child's life, Healthy relationship skills
  • Relationship violence prevention

The Office of the Attorney General is offering the 2008 edition of the 14-session curriculum and training at no charge to teachers, school counselors, school nurses, teen parent program staff, and parent educators in community-based programs.

The p.a.p.a. curriculum is a method by which school districts can comply with state law passed in the 80th Legislature requiring high school health to include a parenting and paternity awareness curriculum. The OAG is coordinating with TEA and Regional Education Service Centers to train teachers, nurses and counselors. Community-based organizations and larger school districts may schedule training directly with the OAG.

Locate a Parent (Location Only)

These services are available to individuals who are not receiving full Texas Child Support services, but who request help in locating a parent. These services may be requested only for the purpose of:

  • establishing a court order for paternity, child support, or medical support
  • collecting court-ordered support.
  • enforcing custody or visitation.

The State Parent Locator Service provides only information about the missing parent's possible location(s). The State Parent Locator Service obtains the latest available address and employment information about the missing parent from state and federal records, and forwards that information to the applicant.

The State Parent Locator Service is not permitted to verify or investigate the information obtained, and cannot guarantee that the missing parent will be found. You may apply for State Parent Locator Service if you are:

  • The custodial parent with physical possession of the child(ren)
  • A person (other than a parent) who, for at least the past six months, has had physical possession of the child(ren)
  • The legal guardian or managing conservator with legal custody of the child(ren)
  • A judge or agent of a court with jurisdiction over the paternity and/or support case
  • A court with jurisdiction to enforce custody or visitation.
  • The attorney of the child(ren) for whom paternity and/or support is sought.

Child Support Modifications

Only the Court can modify a Texas Child Support order. It cannot be done by agreement of the parties.

Grounds for a modification include a material and substantial change in the circumstances of a child or a person affected by the order, or the passage of three years since the last child support order and a difference in monthly payment by either 20 percent or $100 from the child support guidelines.

A parent subject to a child support order may request a review of the ordered child support amounts every three years by contacting the Office of the Attorney General.

Child Support Enforcement

If a non-custodial parent does not pay child support, he or she is subject to enforcement measures to collect regular and past-due payments. The Texas Child Support Division uses many techniques to enforce child support orders, including:

  • Requiring employers to deduct court-ordered Texas Child Support from the non-custodial 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
  • Filing a lawsuit against the non-custodial parent asking the court to enforce its order.
  • A judge may sentence a nonpaying parent to jail and enter a judgment for past due child support.

Texas Child Support Customer Service

Automated payment and case information:  (800) 252-8014

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, please call our Deaf Outreach Program

1-800-572-2686 or (512) 460-6417 

E-mail: child.support@oag.state.tx.us

Postal mail:

Office of the Attorney General 

Texas Child Support Division 

P.O. Box 12017 

Austin, TX 78711-2017

Acknowledgment of Paternity questions 

Please call 1-866-255-2006.

Office of the Attorney General 

Child Support Division - MC 040 

State Parent Locate Service 

P.O. Box 12017 

Austin, TX 78711-2017

Texas Child Support Debit Card 


Texas Child Support Questions & Answers

Who can apply for Texas Child Support services and what is the fee?

The Attorney General’s office accepts applications from mothers, fathers, and other individuals who have possession of a child. Our attorneys represent the State of Texas in providing child support services and do not represent either parent in the case. Applicants do not have the right to select what enforcement actions are taken in their cases.

The Office of the Attorney General is required to provide all appropriate services for the benefit of the children. Temporary Assistance to Needy Family (TANF) recipients automatically receive child support services, but persons who do not receive TANF must apply for Title IV-D child support services. There is no fee to apply for child support services provided by the Office of the Attorney General.

Locating a non-custodial parent

The most important information an applicant can provide, aside from the non-custodial parent’s current address, is the name and address of the non-custodial parent’s current employer. If the current employer is not known, the name and address of the last known employer should be provided. Additionally, the following information about the non-custodial parent should be made available:

  • Social security number and date of birth
  • Names and addresses of relatives and friends
  • Names of banks or creditors such as utility companies
  • Names of organizations, unions or clubs to which the non-custodial parent belongs.
  • Places where the non-custodial parent spends free time.

How do TANF recipients seek Texas Child Support?

To receive TANF benefits through the Texas Department of Human Services, recipients must cooperate with the Office of the Attorney General’s efforts to identify the child(ren)’s non-custodial parent and collect Texas Child Support. TANF recipients must also assign to the State the right to collect child support.

All payments collected in the case while the family receives TANF benefits are applied toward reimbursing the state and federal governments for TANF benefits received by the family. However, the family will receive up to $50 a month as a supplemental TANF payment during the months that child support is paid. When the family goes off TANF, all current support payments are sent to the custodial parent.

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