Child Support Attorneys, Houston TX
- Houston Child Support Overview
- Who Pays for Child Support
- How to Pay for Child Support
- Modifying a Child Support Order
Child support can be an incredibly contentious issue in any family law case. In Texas, the law imposes a duty on any parent to financially support their children, even if they do not have physical possession of them. Child support is intended to help the other parent with the expenses in raising a child. The duty of support is one owed to the child – not the other party – meaning that even if that child is raised by a non-parent, i.e. a grandparent, a biological parent may still be ordered to pay child support.
Which Parent Pays for Child Support
Most states require a ‘cooling-off' period. In Texas, this period is 60 days. This means that, once a formal petition for divorce is filed, the case cannot be completely finalized until the 61st day it has been on file. Additionally, Texas has certain residential requirements that must be met before someone can file for divorce. At least one party must be a resident of the state of Texas for at least 6 months, and a resident of that particular county for 90 days before a petition for divorce can be filed.
Generally, in Texas, the non-custodial parent pays child support. This is the party that does not have the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child. Of course, the custodial parent is expected to use the child support money for the care and maintenance of the child. With court approval and if in the best interest of the child, the parties can agree to go without child support, especially if possession is split evenly between the parties and their income is similar to one another.
There are two main kinds of divorces in Texas: contested or uncontested. A contested divorce means that the parties cannot agree on something. Whether that is how to split up their retirement accounts, selling the house, or some aspects of custody or child possession, a contested divorce will allow the parties to use the judicial system to negotiate. There might be a hearing in contested matters, but in most cases, the parties will be able to resolve their issues out of court and avoid a full-blown trial. Sometimes, this is through a formal mediation process. Other time, the parties can work things out with the guidance of their attorneys and good, old-fashioned conversation.
Next, the court will look to the number of children the paying party has to determine the percentage he or she will need to pay, as follows:
- One child = 20 percent
- Two children = 25 percent
- Three children = 30 percent
- Four children = 35 percent
- Five children = 40 percent
- Six children = no less than 40 percent.
The obligor, i.e. the party ordered to pay child support, may be entitled to a reduction in the guidelines if they have other children. Therefore, for example, if you have 2 kids with different persons, you may pay 17.5% as opposed to 20%.
How to Pay for Child Support
The state of Texas allows the parties to pay their child support obligations in a number of ways. If the parties get along well enough, they can pay child support directly to the other party, via cash, check or even electronic transfer (like Venmo or Paypal). It is recommended that the party paying always indicates that the transfer is for child support, in the event of a dispute. The parties can also pay directly through the State Disbursement Unit in the same way. The advantage to paying through this agency is that the state tracks all the payments. In the event there is some disagreement, there is a centralized database that can be used to determine the truth. The child support payment are usually taken directly out of their paycheck, as and when they are paid. There are several advantages to this. First, the obligor parent will never forget to pay their support. This provides peace of mind to the recipient party as well. Because the amount will also come out as the party is paid, they can space out their payments throughout the month.
Modifying a Child Support Order
Child support orders can be modified if it has been at least 3 years since the order was entered and the monthly amount of the child support award changes by either 20 percent of $100.00 It may also be modified if there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances. Usually, the party requesting a modification under the latter grounds must demonstrate that the paying parent’s income has changed, they are legally responsible for more children, their insurance coverage has changed, or living arrangements have changed.
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We can help you prepare for the possibility of paying child support and counsel you as to the best approach to take when paying. We will advocate for your rights and ensure that you receive the correct amount of support for your children.