How to Enforce Child Support in Texas

After a divorce, children typically live with one custodial parent who provides food, housing, clothing, health insurance, and more. The non-custodial parent makes child support payments to ensure the children have what they need as they grow. 

As a custodial parent, you rely on those payments to provide for your children. If your ex fails to pay, you have options. You could go to court and ask the judge to enforce your child support payments, or you could work with the Texas Office of the Attorney General. 

How to establish child support in Texas

You're required to tell the court about the children you share during the divorce process. Your final paperwork filed with the court will include child support orders approved by a judge. 

Texas courts can also order child support due to the following issues:

  • Child custody cases not related to divorce 
  • Paternity suits 
  • Family violence cases 

The Texas Attorney General offers an online calculator to help families understand how much child support payments should be. But a judge makes the final ruling. 

How can Texas courts enforce established child support payments?

Once a court makes the order, one parent must pay the other. Funds move through official channels, not as handouts from one party to the next. You'll have proof if your ex stops supporting your children. You can use that proof in court. 

You can file paperwork with the Texas courts, asking them to enforce your child support order. Head to the court that processed your Texas case, and ask for the forms you need.

Once you file a case and the judge agrees there are missing payments, the court can take the following steps:

  • Withhold payments from your ex’s paycheck
  • Suspend your ex’s driver’s license and other professional licenses 
  • Place a lien on assets your ex owns, such as properties, bank accounts, and retirement plans
  • Hold your ex in contempt of court, which could mean jail time 

Texas courts move quicker than the Attorney General’s office, and you could get relief faster via this method. But the courts don’t have as many options to pressure your spouse to pay as compared to the Attorney General. 

How the Attorney General can enforce child support payments

The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is officially in charge of child support payments. Custodial parents have accounts with the office, and they can use those accounts to report missing payments. 

The OAG can take the following steps:

  • Suspend more than 60 types of licenses, including hunting, professional, fishing, and driver's licenses
  • Deny passport issuance or renewal requests
  • File liens on bank accounts, retirement plans, life insurance plans, and more 

The OAG also has an Evader Program that accepts public tips about non-paying parents. This program puts added pressure on your ex to pay what's owed. 

In general, it's easier to work with the OAG when your spouse won't make payments. The process might take longer than using the court system, but your ex will be responsible for every missed payment. You are more likely to get the money your children are owed.

Suggested: How is Child Support Calculated in Texas?



Child Support in Texas. (January 2023).
Monthly Child Support Calculator. Attorney General of Texas. 
Enforcing Your Child Support Orders On Your Own. (December 2022). 
How We Enforce. Attorney General of Texas. 
Child Support Evaders. Attorney General of Texas.
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