Who can apply for child support services?

Q: I am raising my child without assistance from my ex. Can I apply for child support services through the Attorney General’s office?

A: Yes. My oflice accepts applications from mothers, fathers, and other individuals who have legal custody of a child. If you are a single parent, you are probably entitled to child support. By law, both parents are required to support their children, even if one of the parents does not live with the children. Both parents may be required to pay child support if their children are in the legal custody of another person, such as a grandparent or other relative.

The Attorney General’s office is the official child support agency for the State of Texas. We provide free child support services, including locating absent parents; establishing paternity; establishing, enforcing, and modifying child and medical support orders; and collecting and distributing child support monies.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Family (TANE) recipients automatically receive child support services. People who do not receive TANF payments have to apply for our services on their own.
Because we want to be as accessible as possible, our office provides several options for obtaining a child support application.

If you live in or near one of the following cities, you can contact one of our call centers:

San Antonio – 210-841-8450
Houston/ Dallas – 713-243-7100
Ft. Worth – 972-339-3100
Austin – 512-514-7000
Lubbock – 806-765-0094
McAllen – 956-682-5581
Tyler – 903-595-6900
El Paso – 915-779-2388

You can also request an application for services by calling us a 1-800-252-8014 or by visiting the Child Support section of the Attorney General’s Web site at www.oag.state.tx.us. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call 1-800-572-2686 or 512-460-6417.

We encourage people who apply for child support services to supply as much information as possible to speed up the process of establishing or enforcing their child support order. The most important information an applicant can provide, aside from the non-custodial parent’s name and address, is the name of his or her current employer. If you don’t know the current employer, try to provide the name and address of the last known employer.

Additionally, letting us know the following information of the other parent will expedite the processing of your case:

•social security number and date of birth; names and addresses of relatives and friends;

•names of banks or creditors such as the utility company;

•names of organizations, unions, or clubs to which the parent belongs; and

•places where the non-custodial parent spends free time.

If possible, be prepared to submit copies of official documents like your divorce decree, children’s birth certificates, and a signed acknowledgment of paternity.

As part of the Office of the Attorney General’s mission to become the premier child support enforcement agency in the nation, we will continue your efforts to increase child support collections, improve customer service, and upgrade existing systems. The children of Texas deserve nothing less.

Q: After applying for services, how long does it take for my child support payments to begin?

A: Obtaining child support payments through our Child Support Division involves a wide variety of factors, which makes it difficult to predict the time required to secure payments on individual cases. For example, one case may require the full range of services – locating the absent parent, establishing paternity and a court support order, and enforcing the order. Another case may have a divorce decree with an established support order, a social security number, and an employer for the non-custodial parent, allowing the enforcement of the order through an administrative income withholding order.

Every case is different. But you can be certain my office will do everything possible to collect the financial support your children need and deserve.