Tarrant County IV-D Court: What You Need to Know [2023]

If you live in Tarrant County and recently received a citation to appear in a Tarrant County IV-D Court – also known as “Child Support Court” – it’s important to take it extremely seriously. This means that the Texas Attorney General (OAG)  has filed a lawsuit due to a child support issue.

In this article, our experienced child support lawyers will explain the role of an IV-D court in Tarrant County, how to prepare for court, and why it’s a good idea to have an experienced attorney. But first, please take a moment to watch this informative video by family law attorney Turner Thornton, who gives an overview of IV-D Courts in Texas.

What is an IV-D Court in Texas?

A Texas IV-D Court is a specialized court that handles child support cases that originate from the Office of the Texas Attorney General. The term “IV-D” refers to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act of 1975, which establishes the federal Child Support Enforcement Program.

This program provides states with funding and guidelines for monitoring and enforcing child support orders to ensure that non-custodial parents provide financial support to their children. IV-D courts stemmed out of this federal mandate.

In Texas IV-D Courts, various types of cases related to child support can be heard, including:

  • Establishing paternity
  • Establishing, modifying, or enforcing child support orders
  • Collecting child support
  • Enforcing medical support orders

The Role of the Office of the Texas Attorney General in IV-D Court Cases

When a parent needs help with a child support matter, they often turn to the Office of the Texas Attorney General (OAG) for help. The  OAG’s Child Support Division is the official “Title IV-D agency” in Texas and is responsible for enforcing child support orders and collecting child support payments from non-custodial parents.

The OAG represents the state and may initiate a child support case, or lawsuit, on behalf of the custodial parent or the child. An IV-D lawsuit is a legal action brought forth by the OAG to establish paternity and establish and enforce child support orders to ensure that non-custodial parents meet their financial obligations to their children.

If the OAG files a case, or lawsuit, it will be held in a IV-D Court in Texas. Trained IV-D attorneys represent the OAG in court proceedings and advocate for the best interests of the child.

Tarrant County IV-D Court Cases

In Tarrant County, cases that stem from the Texas OAG land in one of three IV-D Courts dedicated to establishing and enforcing child support. Three associate judges – Judge Casey Conine, Judge Cherami Jenkins and Judge Sean Cook  – preside over Tarrant County’s IV-D Courts. What court your case lands in depends on the non-custodial parent’s last name. That’s how the cases are divided in Tarrant County.

Tarrant County IV-D Courts are located on the first floor of the Family Law Center, 200 East Weatherford Street, Fort Worth, TX 76196.

The stakes are high. Hire the best lawyers.

What to bring to Tarrant County IV-D Court

If you have been ordered to appear in a Tarrant County IV-D Court, it’s imperative to bring relevant documents and information, including:

  • Proof of income, including paystubs for the last three months and federal income tax returns for the past two years;
  • All child support payment records;
  • Health insurance information for the child;
  • Any evidence of the child’s needs and proof you have provided financial support.

If you have been ordered to appear in a Tarrant County IV-D court and don’t have a child support attorney, now would be an excellent time to contact one. A child support attorney can help prepare you for court and make sure that you have all the required documents. IV-D Court can be very intimidating and it’s important to show respect to the court by coming prepared.

The attorneys at Varghese Summersett Family Law Group have vast experience with Tarrant County IV-D court cases, having represented custodial and non-custodial parents in this process.

What should I do when I arrive at Tarrant County IV-D Court?

When you arrive at the courthouse, go through security and ask where your Tarrant County IV-D Court is located. Once you find your IV-D Court, sign in with the clerk from the OAG or DRO or the bailiff – whoever is handling check-ins. That is how the court will know you are present in court for your hearing.

What happens in Tarrant County IV-D Court?

After you check in at Tarrant County IV-D Court, you will wait until your case is called. Once it is called, there may be an informal meeting between the parties – and their attorneys if they have attorneys  – to see if an agreement can be reached regarding the child support issue.

If an agreement can’t be reached, a hearing will be held. The judge will review the case, listen to both parties, and make a decision based on Texas family law and the best interest of the child. The judge may establish or modify child support orders, enforce existing orders, or address other child support-related issues.


Do I need an attorney for Tarrant County IV-D Court?

While it is possible to represent yourself in a child support IV-D case, having an experienced attorney can provide numerous advantages that can make the process smoother and potentially lead to a more favorable result. Here are some benefits of having legal representation in a Tarrant County IV-D Court case:

Knowledge and experience

Attorneys have a deep understanding of family law and the legal system, which is invaluable when navigating the complexities of a child support case. They can help you understand your rights and obligations, as well as the court procedures and requirements.

Legal advice

Emotions can run high in child support cases, which may cloud your judgment. An attorney can provide objective guidance, helping you make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

Negotiation skills

Our skilled family attorney can negotiate effectively with the other party or their legal counsel, potentially resulting in a more favorable child support agreement. They can also help you gather and present evidence to support your position.

Preparation and representation

Our divorce attorney can help you prepare for court hearings, draft legal documents, and guide you through the entire process. They will also speak on your behalf, represent you in court, and advocate on your behalf.

Protection of your rights

Our attorneys ensure that your rights are protected throughout the case and that you are treated fairly by the court and opposing parties. They can also help you address any legal issues or complications that may arise during the process.

Greater likelihood of a favorable outcome

Having an attorney may increase your chances of achieving a more favorable outcome in your child support case. They can help you navigate the legal system more efficiently and effectively, while keeping your best interests at the forefront.

Faster resolution and priority

Having an attorney can potentially expedite the resolution of your child support case. Legal professionals are familiar with the court system and can help ensure that your case moves forward in a timely manner. Additionally, some courts may give priority to cases with legal representation, which can lead to your case being addressed more quickly than if you were representing yourself. In Tarrant County, cases with attorneys are handled before cases without attorneys.

Ordered to appear in Tarrant County IV-D Court? Contact Us.

If you’ve been ordered to appear in Tarrant County IV-D court, now is the time to consider hiring an experienced child support attorney.  Our experienced family law attorneys at Varghese Summersett can prepare you for court, help you navigate the complex process, and advocate on your behalf. Not to mention, it will significantly cut down on your time in court. Call us today at (817) 900-3220 to schedule a consultation or contact us online.

FAQs About Tarrant County Parenting Classes

How do I know when to appear at a IV-D court?

You should receive a letter from the Office of the Attorney General or Domestic Relations Office with the court date or served with an order that has the date.

Who is the respondent in a IV-D child support case?

In an IV-D child support case, the respondent is going to be both parents. This is because the petitioner – meaning the person who brings the lawsuit – is the Texas Attorney General – Child Support Division or the county’s Domestic
Relations Office (DRO).

In IV-D child support cases, the AG does not represent either parent. They represent the state of Texas and the best interests of the child.

What is the Tarrant County Domestic Relations Office (DRO)?

The Tarrant County Domestic Relations Office (DRO) is responsible for managing child support enforcement efforts in Tarrant County. It works closely with the OAG to ensure cases are handled efficiently. Think of the DRO as an arm of
the OAG.

How long will I be at IV-D Court in Tarrant County?

If you do not have an attorney, plan on staying the entire day at Tarrant County IV-D Court. There is no specific timeline. Dozens of cases can be heard on a single day. Respondents with lawyers will generally be seen first, ahead of
respondents without lawyers.

Can I bring my kids to Tarrant County IV-D Court?

No. Even though IV-D courts deal with children, it is no place for kids. Court can be stressful and lengthy and the environment is not suitable for children. Not to mention, most courts will not allow children in the courtroom – and
the court staff will not watch your children. It’s best to make alternative childcare arrangements and plan on being gone for the entire day.

Do I need an attorney for a Tarrant County IV-D court case?

While it’s not mandatory to have an attorney for a Tarrant County IV-D court case, it’s definitely not a bad idea. Having knowledgeable legal representation at your side can help you navigate the complex process and put you in the
most favorable position possible. It will also speed up the process since parents with attorneys go to the front of the line.

What should I wear to Tarrant County IV-D Court?

When attending court, it’s important to dress appropriately, as your attire can impact the impression you make on the judge. Here are some general guidelines for dressing for court:

  • Aim for a conservative and professional look: Think of court attire as similar to what you would wear to a job interview or a business meeting.
  • Wear clean and well-fitting clothes: Make sure your clothes are clean, ironed, and fit you properly.
  • Choose neutral or muted colors: Opt for colors like black, navy, gray, or white. Bright or flashy colors can be distracting.
  • Men’s attire: A suit with a collared shirt, tie, dress pants, and dress shoes is ideal. If you don’t have a suit, you can wear a collared shirt, dress pants, a tie, and dress shoes.
  • Women’s attire: A conservative dress, skirt with a blouse or a pantsuit is appropriate. Skirts and dresses should be knee-length or longer. Avoid low-cut tops, tight clothing, or short skirts. Closed-toe shoes, such as flats or
    low heels, are preferable.
  • Grooming: Ensure that your hair is clean and neatly styled. Facial hair should be trimmed and groomed. Keep makeup and jewelry minimal and conservative.
  • Avoid casual clothing: Do not wear jeans, shorts, T-shirts, sneakers, sandals, or hats.

Remember that dressing appropriately for court demonstrates respect for the judicial process and can have a positive impact on how you are perceived. If you are unsure about what to wear, consult with your attorney or a legal
professional for guidance.

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