If you are the non custodial parent of a child in Texas and have the obligation to pay a monthly amount of child support to your child’s custodial parent you may have questions regarding how payments can be sent. After all, the last thing you want to do is send payments that total over a thousand dollars a piece only to find out that the money never made it to your child or were only partially received. Not only is your child suffering due to the lack of child support, but you run the risk of being hit with an enforcement case by the custodial parent for the failure to fully and timely pay child support.
Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC will detail those methods that are approved by the Attorney General of Texas (OAG) as acceptable ways to pay child support.
Walk in and cash payments
If you are a person that prefers to utilize cash-only methods of paying for groceries, household items and other expenses in your life you will probably approve of the following payment methods for child support.
First and foremost there is a method called TouchPay which is a self-service kiosk which has machines located throughout Texas. Simple, step by step instructions appear on the screen that can take your payment in a few minutes.
You will need to provide the ten digit case number assigned to you by the OAG and the last name of the custodial parent. Debit cards and credit cards are also accepted methods of depositing child support funds, in addition to cash.
If sending in checks or money orders via the mail are not something that you are interested in utilizing then Fidelity Express offers a service as an alternative to those two methods. Payments using Fidelity Express are made at participating retail locations using cash. Again, you will need your ten digit OAG cause number to make payments in this manner.
The tried and true MoneyGram approach is also an acceptable method of payment for child support in Texas. Major retailers across the state like Walmart and CVS carry money gram capabilities that involve you sending cash via a wire transfer to the custodial parent. You will need your ten digit OAG cause number. The OAG has a code (14681) that you will enter at the location in order to receive credit for issuing payment.
Paying child support by phone or using a credit card online
If the in person/cash methods aren’t what you had in mind for paying child support you can also take advantage of MoneyGram’s website to make a Visa or Mastercard payment (either debit or credit card methods are acceptable). There are fees associated with this payment method and you will need your OAG cause number if you hadn’t already figured that part out from having read the prior section of this blog post.
The other phone/online method that is allowable by the OAG in Texas is a system called Smart e-Pay. Child support payments can be made online through the Smart Child Support website and also by phone at 1-855-853-8286. Discover, MasterCard and Visa credit or debit cards are accepted.
This method of payment is relatively new and is designed to help create another, flexible method of paying your child support obligation. Be aware that a transaction fee applies to those payments made by credit card. Your credit card may also charge you a fee to utilize this service so you ought to contact them prior to utilizing Smart.
Paying child support by Bank Draft
Smart e-Pay again comes in hand in this area as well. This internet only option will debit your bank account through their secure system at no cost to you. You will not be charged extra to utilize this payment method and that is rare as you have seen through reading this blog post.
Another nice attribute of the e-Pay method of payment is that it saves your payment information for quick utilization next month. You can establish a set payment method on a recurring basis which allows for payments to be made automatically from your bank account whenever you would like. Based on what your particular orders mandate you do in terms of frequency of payments this can save you time and hassle.
If you are wondering when electronic child support payments actually arrive at the OAG State Disbursement Unit (SDU), the answer is typically within seven business days of the date on which you initiated the debit from your bank account on the Smart e-Pay website. The benefit to you in this area is that you do not lose any time for the post office to deliver your check or cash payment as in other methods of payment. E-pay is instantaneous insofar as the payment is received by the website. From there, the money is sent to the SDU for dispersal.
The tried and true payment by mail
If these methods seem a little too out there for you, then you may be interested in the tried and true method of child support payment of paying your obligation by mail. Simply mail in your payment by check or money order to the SDU in San Antoino. Their address is State Disbursement Unit (SDU), P.O. Box 659791, San Antonio, TX 78265-9791.
The following information will need to be included on your check or money order to ensure it is processed and sent out properly and on time:
-Your ten digit case number
-Your cause number (look at the top of your child support order for this information)
-Your full name
-The custodial parent’s full name
A check should be made payable to the Office of the Attorney General.
Direct payment of child support to the custodial parent
I am asked every so often if it is ever ok to just pay your child support obligation to your child’s other parent. It certainly cuts down on some amount of hassle that it takes to look through a blog post like this one and decide the most suitable option for payment. You may also consider that your child will stand to benefit from your payment that much quicker. What’s the harm in paying child support in this manner, you may be asking.
Before you consider paying your child support obligation directly to the custodial parent please consider that in doing so you may be violating part of your child support order. Many orders specifically state that direct payment of child support does not county on the official tally of payments made. You’ll notice that it is not an accepted method of payment that I outlined above.
Many non custodial parents feel like since the order was put in place he or she has been on better terms with the custodial parent. These better terms have allowed him or her the latitude to make informal, direct payments of child support. The concern that I have is that as soon as something happens where that goodwill disappears, so will any credit you received for making timely and direct payments of child support. Don’t be surprised if after an argument the custodial parent slaps you with an enforcement petition stating that you have not paid child support as ordered by the State of Texas.
Questions about the various methods of service available in Texas? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
Even if your child support case is done with you may still have questions about how to plan for the future payments that need to be made. Our office would be honored if you chose to speak to us about these questions. We meet with potential clients six days a week for free of charge consultations. Please contact us today to learn more about your situation and to hear how our attorneys can best assist you with achieving your goals.