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What are a noncustodial father’s child support obligations?

If you are a Texas noncustodial father, you probably have many questions regarding your parental rights and your child support obligations. The Office of the Texas Attorney General has prepared a Handbook for Noncustodial Parents that you may find helpful.

Just because you do not have primary custody of your child does not mean that you have no parental rights. You do. You have the right to spend time with your child and to know his or her whereabouts. However, if you were not married to your child’s mother at the time he or she was born, you must establish your paternity before you have any legal rights to your child.

Opening a child support case

If you have had difficulty establishing your paternity, you may wish to open a child support case with the Office of the Attorney General. Such a case not only can establish your paternity, but also can address custody, visitation and child and medical support issues. In addition, should your child’s mother dispute your paternity and the OAG decide that you need to have a DNA test to establish your paternity, such a test usually will be provided for you at no cost.

It is important that you give the OAG your full personal financial information. That way your child support payments can be set at a realistic amount, usually in monthly payments. If ever there is a month where you cannot make the full payment, make a partial payment to show that you are making a good-faith effort to comply with the child support order. In addition, call the child support office to explain your current financial situation. It is possible that your child support obligations could be reduced. This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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