Parents are required in the United States to take care of their children, even if the parents have not been legally married. For those going through a divorce, you can apply for child support in Texas once the divorce decree is finalized and custody as well as visitation issues have been determined. If the parent has not been married and wants to file for child support, then paternity must be established with the other parent. In many instances the other parent (noncustodial parent) will be required to sign a form acknowledging that the child is theirs. In cases where they will not sign, or they cannot be found, then the offices of the Attorney General of Texas can assist with the search.
How Child Support Payments are Calculated
Unlike many states, who base the child support amounts on the total gross income of both parents, Texas bases the child support amount on the net income of the noncustodial parent, only. The noncustodial parent is the parent with whom the child does NOT reside with a majority of the time. The child support payments start at 20% of the net income for one child and increases by 5% for each additional child that the couple shared.
Noncustodial parents have no choice in how the money is disbursed to the custodial parent. Wage garnishment is mandated and will be taken out of each paycheck. A wage garnishment form is sent to the employer along with the case number. If the wage garnishment has not gone into effect, the noncustodial parent is still on the hook for the payments and is required to make the payments by mail, online, or in person.
Applying for Child Support in Texas
There are several ways that you can apply for child support in Texas. The easiest way is to do so via the website: https://childsupport.oag.state.tx.us/wps/portal/csi You can also call and request an application be sent to you in the mail by calling: 1-800-252-8014. For most the process does not take a long time to fill out, but the processing OF the form can take upwards of 4 weeks or more depending on if the noncustodial parent is cooperative or not. Useful documents to have handy while you are filling out the form would include any wage and earnings documents, as well as tax documents, your divorce papers if you have them, as well as any other personal information that you would need to provide information about your circumstances.
Evading Child Support
Each year hundreds of noncustodial parents attempt to get out of the responsibility of paying child support by voluntarily losing their jobs, declaring bankruptcy, hiding money, leaving the state, or falsifying information on their forms. These attempts will backfire on the perpetrator and can result in legal actions on behalf of the child, the custodial parent, and the state of Texas. If the payments have created an economic hardship that is severe there are ways to petition for a modification of the amounts. A good example would be if you are leaving the armed services and returning to civilian life. Contact the Attorney General’s office if you need to schedule a meeting with someone to discuss modification.