9:25 AM PT -- According to court documents obtained by TMZ, Owens has also been ordered to pay Smith's attorney's fees and expenses -- a $12,000 obligation.
The judge has ordered T.O. to make 6 easy monthly payments of $2,000 ... but if he's late, the full remaining balance will be due immediately and Owens could face additional punishment.
9:10 AM PT -- Randy Kessler, an attorney for TO's baby mama, Melanie Smith, tells us, "While it is unfortunate that it required court action to get the child support payments resumed, we are glad the amounts have been paid and our client remains hopeful that further court involvement will not be needed and more importantly, that a better, more consistent relationship for her daughter and her daughter's father can develop."
7:45 AM PT -- Court documents show T.O. has finally paid the $20k he owes the mother of his 7-year-old daughter.
Terrell Owens has just arrived to the courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia ... hoping to convince a judge NOT to throw his unemployed ass in jail after missing $20k in child support payments to one of his baby mamas.
Just the fact he arrived ... on time ... is a big step for T.O. ... considering he blew off his last scheduled court appearance and the judge threatened to send his ass to the slammer if he no-showed today.
Earlier this week, T.O. switched lawyers ... and his new attorney released a statement saying, "Mr. Owens is making the necessary arrangements to pay child support due to Ms. Smith in the Georgia case."
The statement continued, "He regrets that he is no longer able to pay child support based upon his previous NFL income. He hopes to be signed to an NFL team in the future. Mr. Owens has always made his child support payments his top priority."