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How to Collect Back Child Support in Texas

Unfortunately, one of the most common questions we are asked is how to collect back child support in Texas. Raising children is expensive and the burden should never rest on just one parent.

The great news is that whether or not you have an existing Order for Child Support in Texas, the non-custodial parent is required to share in the financial responsibilities of raising a child, by paying child support and paying it in a timely manner. There are different statutes of limitations for how long you have to initiate a suit for back child support based on whether or not you have a Texas Order for Child Support, and they are summarized as follows:

  1. If you have an existing Order for Child support, you have until the child turns 28 (up to 10 years after they turn 18) to collect on any child support payments that were not made prior to the child turning 18.

  2. If you do not have an existing order for child support and worry about Texas statute of limitations for collecting on back child support, fear not. You have until the child turns 22 (or, 4 years after they have turned 18) to collect on back child support payments in Texas.

how to collect back child support in Texas

First, it is important to understand how child support is calculated in Texas. You can find a Texas child support calculator on the state Attorney General’s website, but for the purpose of this article, the child support guidelines in Texas (pursuant to Texas Family Code Sec. 154.125) are as follows:


1 child 20% of Obligor's Net Resources

2 children 25% of Obligor's Net Resources

3 children 30% of Obligor's Net Resources

4 children 35% of Obligor's Net Resources

5 children 40% of Obligor's Net Resources

Example: If the non-custodial parent (the obligor) makes $5,000 per month after taxes, they would (very roughly) owe $1,250 for two children. That represents only 25% of their net income but for the custodial parent, these funds are necessary in providing housing, food and clothing for the children.

Now that we have a very rough understanding of how child support is calculated in Texas, the next question is, how far back can you collect on back child support in Texas? Generally, it is reasonable to expect to receive up to the past four years of unpaid child support. However, that is not a hard rule. In fact, if you have not been paid child support for longer than that, and can prove that the non-custodial parent intentionally and purposefully avoided paying, you are likely to get more.

At Martin Oostdyk, we believe that no parent should avoid paying child support and will do everything in our legal power to help you and your child(ren) receive what is due. Texas child support laws are strict and are taken very seriously. If you are contemplating filing suit for back child support (or "retroactive" child support), please contact our Fort-Worth family law attorneys who specialize in both child support order enforcement and collection on back child support in Texas and around the world.


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