The legal information provided on this website is the product of
Legal Aid NorthWest Texas (LANWT). None of the legal information
on this website is associated with or the product of the Office
of the Attorney General of Texas or any of its employees.
Q. If I
die before my child support obligation ends, is my estate
responsible for continuing to pay child support?
A. Generally speaking,
your estate will be responsible for paying the child support
payments you would have otherwise paid yourself. Life insurance
enables you to provide for your children. You may designate a
conservator to ensure the money goes to the children’s food and
the custodial parent have control over the money that my estate
would pay to my children?
A. Unless you have a will
or a trust established, the answer is usually yes. If you do not
wish for the custodial parent to control the money you leave for
you children, you should consult an attorney to see if a will or
a trust for your child is a good option. If you leave the
children substantial money or property, it may be necessary for
a probate court to appoint a guardian for the children under 18
years of age. A biological parent will almost always be
appointed guardian of the child. However, your Last Will can
nominate a different person to be appointed guardian of the
child’s estate (property).
Q. Can I pay my child support
payments directly to the other parent?
A. Usually the answer is
no. In virtually all cases, child support is required to be paid
through the registry of the court or the Texas Child Support
Follow the directions in the child support
order when paying the support. This will ensure that you will be
credited with each payment. As a general rule, providing money,
clothes, toys and such is considered a gift outside of your
child support obligation.
Q. Is child support required to
taken from my paycheck?
A. It is not required in
all cases, but normally the court will order child support to be
taken directly from your paycheck. Wage withholding is required
by law in cases receiving full services from the Office of the
Attorney General. This is good for both parents. It is more
reliable for the custodial parent, and it creates a record of
payments for the non-custodial parent.
Q. We just decided to split up
and the children will live with the other parent. Am I required
to start paying child support?
A. No. There is no legal
requirement to pay child support until there is a court order.
Unless you are voluntarily paying and keeping a written record
of child support payments, you could be ordered to pay
retroactive child support. Voluntary payments can demonstrate to
the court and your child that you want to do what is in the best
interest of your child. The court will be reviewing each
parent’s expenditures between the date of separation and the
first court hearing.
Q. How much child support
should I expect to pay?
A. State law provides
guidelines to determine how much child support should be paid.
It is basically a percentage of your income after allowing for
taxes, union dues, the cost of health insurance (for the
children only) and some other mandatory deductions. You should
expect to pay 20% of your income for one child, 25% for 2
children, and 30% for 3 children. The maximum amount you will
normally pay is 40% of your net income. You may be entitled to
pay a reduced amount if you have other children you are ordered
to pay child support for or have other children residing with
you. Keep in mind that the law provides guidelines only, not
absolute requirements. Either parent can seek to have child
support set at an amount that is higher or lower than the
guidelines suggest. The courts typically follow the guidelines
Q. I lost my job. Can I stop
paying my child support until I find another job?
A. No. You must continue
to pay child support ordered to pay or risk being held in
contempt of court. If this is not possible, make every effort to
pay as much as you can. You can go to court and ask that your
payments be lowered if your income has dropped substantially.
can child support be modified or changed?
A. Only the court can
modify or change the child support order. It cannot be changed
by agreement of the parties. In most cases, you will need the
assistance of a lawyer to make a change. Grounds for a change in
the child support order include a material and substantial
change in the circumstances of a child or a person affected by
the order. Either parent may request a review of the order for
child support every three years, or more frequently if there has
been material and substantial change in circumstances, by
contacting the Child Support Division of the Office of the
Q. I am under 18 years old and
still in school. Can I be required to pay child support?
A. Yes. If you are the
parent of a child, you are responsible for that child’s support
even if you are still a minor. The court will consider your
income or income potential and determine how much child support
you should pay. This is true for both parents if the child is
being cared for by a foster parent.
Q. Can I lose my driver’s
license if I fail to pay child support?
A. There are at least 60
licensing agencies including, but not limited to driver’s
license, professional licenses, including medical, dental, and
law as well as hunting and fishing and other licenses that the
State of Texas has issued to you. If you hold a license issued
by the State of Texas and you owe more than three months of
past-due child support and you are not in compliance with an
existing court-ordered or voluntary repayment schedule, your
license can be suspended.
Q. How does the license
A. The Attorney General’s
Child Support Division matches its caseload with computer tapes
from different licensing agencies. When a match shows you meet
the legal criteria for license suspension, the Attorney General
will provide you with a warning and opportunity to resolve the
delinquent support obligation. If you do not respond and resolve
the problem, the case will be referred for administrative or