Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC

Can I seek child support from my ex if we were never married?


A parent is obligated to support their child, regardless of whether they were ever married to their child's other biological parent. In Texas a parent who has custodial rights over their child may seek child support from the other parent if several considerations are first established.

First, for example, if the child lives with its mother and relies on its mother for its day-to-day needs then it is likely that the mother would be found to have primary custody of the child. Parents who do not have custody of their children generally may not seek child support for them. Though, depending upon certain joint custody situations, exceptions to this rule may be made. Individuals with questions about joint custody and how it may affect support are encouraged to speak with their family law attorneys.

Second, and continuing with the above-mentioned example, if the child resides with its mother and the mother can prove who the child's father is, she may pursue child support for the child's benefit. Paternity is proof that a man is a child's biological father and it may be demonstrated in a number of ways. Often when a child's parents are unmarried and the presumptive father is not present at the time of the child's birth then he may have to submit to DNA testing to prove or disprove his biological connection with his presumptive child.

Finally, if a child lives with its mother and the mother can prove the father's paternal connection to the child then she may seek a child support order from the family court in her jurisdiction. Without a child support order or an agreement she may not be able to enforce any informal understandings about support she and the father may have made.

A variety of family law issues can affect unmarried couples, especially when disputes over their children arise. Different child support and custody scenarios may require different types of proof to demonstrate a presumptive parent's responsibility to support their child. As such, readers are asked to consult with their family law attorneys about their unique legal cases.

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