Information for Survivors of Family Violence
Frequently Asked Questions

Child support services can benefit your family. The state of Texas can use its many enforcement tools to help your children get the money and resources they need. The OAG will establish and enforce a support order (at no cost or very low cost) to collect child support you are owed.

The child support process can be overwhelming if you do not know how it works. We hope the answers to these questions will help you understand and feel more confident about the child support process.

It is important to know that paternity, child support, medical support, custody and visitation will all be addressed when you open a child support case, or when a case is automatically opened because you receive public assistance. The OAG has procedures in place to help you access the child support system safely.

If you are afraid someone will hurt you or your children, you have options.

Abuse by one person against another is a crime. It also can force a parent to make difficult decisions about child support. There are some options to consider when making decisions about child support in light of family violence.

When most people hear the words "family violence," they think of physical violence, but many abusers never physically attack their victims. Abusers find many ways to control victims - by using words, physical violence, sexual violence or threats.

Many abusers use money and resources as a means of control. An abuser can deny a victim access to money, a car or housing, making it nearly impossible to leave or stay away.

Abusers can use threats about child support as a way to maintain control over victims.

  • If your abuser says you will never see a dime of child support if you leave

  • If your abuser says you will lose custody of your children if you ask for child support

  • If you fear your abuser will use child support, court or visitation to further harass or assault you

You are among thousands of victims and survivors who experience these forms of family violence.

Help is available to sort out the advantages and disadvantages of using the child support system, and your options within that system. This information answers basic questions about child support and leads you to other resources for more information.

Child Support Process

What steps are involved in the child support process?
How can the OAG make collecting child support as safe as possible?
Is the information I give the OAG confidential?
How do I inform the OAG of my safety concerns?
When should I tell the OAG about my safety concerns?
I received a notice that my case is scheduled for a negotiation conference (child support review process or CSRP) in the child support office, but I am afraid to be in the same room with the other parent. What can I do?
What if my abuser opened the child support case?
How should I prepare for court?
What issues will the court order address?
What if I have a current protective order?
Does the OAG attorney represent me?
How much does it cost to use the OAG�s services?

Custody and Visitation

Will custody and visitation be addressed in my child support order?
Is it possible for the OAG to modify the visitation or custody arrangements in my current child support order?
What happens if the person I am afraid of has custody of the children?

Paternity Establishment

What does it mean to establish paternity?
How can a person establish paternity?

Child Support and TANF/MEDICAID

If I receive public assistance, will a child support case be automatically opened?
If I receive public assistance, am I required to help the OAG with my child support case?
If I receive public assistance, can I be exempted from helping with my child support case?
What is good cause for not cooperating?
What happens if I do not claim good cause?
What happens if I do not claim good cause and I avoid giving information to the OAG?
Who can I talk to about my safety concerns and claiming good cause?
What happens if HHSC approves my good cause claim?
What happens if HHSC denies my good cause claim?
How long does good cause last?
After HHSC approves my good cause claim, can I change my mind and ask the OAG to collect support?
Revised: March 18 2014