Navigating through a divorce can be difficult. When you add in children and chip support, the situation becomes more complicated. While the well-being of any children involved should take priority, there are many times when disagreements overshadow this. Many times, attorneys need to get involved so that both parties’ best interests are represented as well as the best interest of the child, especially if a court action is needed to determine child support in Texas.
Whether you are the one responsible for giving child support or receiving it, there are several things you need to know to make sure you and your child are being taken care of.
What is Child Support in Texas?
Child support is any money a parent pays to help with the cost of raising their child. This can include money for food, housing, clothing, activities, tuition, and activities. While a parent can be ordered to pay a certain amount in child support, both parents are expected to financially support their child even without a court’s intervention.
Child support is paid to the parent who has custodial custody of the child. This is the parent that the child lives with the majority of the time. Child support is usually paid until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.
How is Child Support in Texas Calculated?
The state of Texas uses something called “guidelines child support” to determine how much child support needs to be paid. The breakdown is as follows:
1 child = 20% of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources
2 children = 25% of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources
3 children = 30% of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources
4 children = 35% of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources
5 children = 40% of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources
6 or more children = not less than 40% of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources
While that can be used as a general guideline, the amounts will differ if the non-custodial parent has children with someone else.
How is Monthly Income Calculated to Determine Child Support?
Several income sources will be added to determine how much the non-custodial parent must pay. Since it is based on average monthly net resources, it is not calculated by using the amount of money a parent takes home monthly.
Net resources are determined by adding all the money the noncustodial parent receives minus the following deductions:
- Social Security Taxes
- Income Tax
- Cost of health insurance or medical support if paid by the noncustodial parent
- Union dues
- Non-discretionary retirement contributions if the noncustodial parent doesn’t pay social security taxes
While the guidelines are usually followed to determine child support, a judge may decide on a different amount if he or she feels the guidelines don’t support a particular situation.
Besides going to court to determine child support, an agreement can also be reached through mediation. During this process, both parties meet to discuss what they think would be fair and hopefully come to an agreement. At Illaraza Law, P.C., we have helped countless couples reach an agreement through mediation. We can guide you through the process so that the best interest of your child is at the forefront and the process is fair for all parties involved.
How is Child Support in Texas Paid?
In Texas, all child support payments must be paid through the Texas Child Support State Disbursement Unit. This allows for there to be a record of your payment so that there’s no confusion. Never make any child support payments directly to the other parent. These may be considered as gifts and will not be applied to the amount of child support you owe.
What Happens if Child Support is Not Paid?
If the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support in Texas and is uncooperative, your attorney can petition the court to enforce the child support order. Not paying child support is a serious offense that can result in harsh consequences such as:
- Being sent to jail
- Suspending your driver’s license or any professional licenses
- Having a lien put against your property
- Being ordered to pay all child support with interest
No one wants to face those scenarios. That’s why it’s best to stay on top of child support payments and important for both parents to communicate.
Can the Amount of Child Support Change?
Child support amounts can change by a court order. If you need to change the amount, it’s best to contact an attorney who can help you with the process. A modification case must be filed to make that determination.
Child support in Texas can be changed if it has been at least three years since the last child support order and the new amount would differ by 20% or $100 from the original. Some situations when child support is changed include if one parent gets hurt or loses a job. Since this will impact their net resources, it will also impact how much money they’ll be able to pay in child support.
Do You Need with Child Support Issues?
If you are going through a divorce or need help with child support, Illaraza Law, P.C. is here for you. We have helped many couples deal with child support issues while keeping the best interest of the child in mind. We can help with legal proceedings as well as mediation.