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Child support

When the parents of a minor child divorce or are no longer living together—or were never married—child support is the amount of money the court orders a parent who does not have primary custody of the child (the noncustodial parent) pay to the parent who does have primary custody (the custodial parent).

In some states the parents may be designated joint managing conservators of the child (joint custody), but one parent is given the right to choose the primary residence of the child, within a geographic area. The parent with this right to choose the child’s primary residence is usually entitled to receive child support payments.

The Office of the Attorney General in your state generally enforces the payment of court-ordered child support. Child support payments generally may be made by direct payment from one parent to the other, or through wage withholding by the employer of the parent who owes child support (the obligor). One advantage to payment by wage withholding is the built-in recordkeeping in the system.

In Texas, child support is a legal obligation paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent to contribute to the expenses of raising their minor child. When parents divorce, separate, or were never married, the court may order child support payments. Texas law often uses the term 'managing conservatorship' instead of custody. Even if parents are designated as joint managing conservators, the parent who has the right to determine the child's primary residence is typically entitled to receive child support. The Texas Office of the Attorney General is responsible for enforcing these court-ordered child support payments. Child support can be paid directly from one parent to the other or through wage withholding from the obligor's employer, which provides a systematic record of payments made. The amount of child support is determined by state guidelines, which consider the income of the parents, the number of children, and other relevant factors.

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