What is Child Support?

Child support is money that a parent pays to another person to help support his or her child. All parents have a legal duty to financially support their children. This legal duty exists even if there is no court order for child support.

In Texas, parent is a legal term. A parent is the child’s biological mother AND a man who is either:

1. Presumed to be the child’s father (married to the child’s mother when the child is born), OR

2. Legally determined to be the child’s biological father, OR

3. Signed an Acknowledgment of Paternity,

Or an adoptive mother or father. Texas Family Code, Section 101.024.

A Texas court may order a parent to support his or her child until the child turns 18 years-old, graduates from high school (whichever occurs later), marries, dies, or is emancipated (declared an adult) by court order. If the child is disabled, the court may order a parent to financially support the child indefinitely.

Who Pays?

Usually, a parent who does not have primary custody of the child is expected to pay child support. The parent who is ordered to pay child support is called the Obligor.

Who pays for the child’s health insurance?  

The person who pays child support usually also has a legal duty to provide health insurance or pay cash medical support to the parent who has health insurance.

· If a parent is insured  through an employer, he/she may be ordered to add their children to that policy.

· If the child is insured through CHIP or Medicaid, the paying parent must pay the cost of insuring the child.

Who receives child support?

Child support is paid to the person that the children live with more than half of the time. This is usually a parent, but not always. The person receiving child support is called the Obligee.



To be eligible for spousal maintenance, the marriage must have lasted at least ten (10) years except when there has been a conviction or deferred adjudication for family violence, a spouse cannot support him or herself because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability or is the custodian of a severely disabled child of the marriage who will be cared for by the spouse asking for maintenance.

The court may order maintenance for either spouse only if the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, on dissolution of the marriage to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs and: (1) the spouse from whom maintenance is requested was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence, committed during the marriage against the other spouse or the other spouse’s child and the offense occurred: (A) within two years before the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage is filed; or (B) while the suit is pending;