If you're struggling with child support issues it can feel like you have no where to turn. Simple tasks can become so stressful they overwhelm or frustrate you to the point where getting through the day becomes a challenge. You can start feeling like you have no control over the situation, and like things will never get better. Things can get better.
Whether you've never received child support or haven't been receiving your court-ordered child support recently, an attorney who knows the law can help get you what you need. Similarly, if you're
ordered to pay child support and can't pay or are being taken to court to start paying child support for the first time, a Texas family lawyer can help you not get taken advantage of.
Each parent has a duty to financially support their child. A separate but similar duty is the duty of each parent to provide medical and dental support. The process for getting a court to order child support and medical and dental support is to file a Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship ("SAPCR"). Once a SAPCR is filed both parties have the opportunity to convince the court to order support in the amount each party desires. The following guidelines are set out in Texas law and used by the courts to assist with determining the amount of child support one party must pay. These Guidelines apply to up to $8,500 per month of the paying parent’s net resources.
1 child - 20% of Paying Parent’s Net Resources
2 children - 25% of Paying Parent’s Net Resources
3 children - 30% of Paying Parent’s Net Resources
4 children - 35% of Paying Parent’s Net Resources
5 children - 40% of Paying Parent’s Net Resources
6+ children - Not less than the amount for 5 children
*Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 154.125 (West)
If the paying parent’s net resources are greater than $8,500 per month, courts may determine the parent should pay more in child support than recommended by the guidelines. If a court determines a parent is unable to pay child support in an amount recommended by the guidelines, the court may order the parent pay a smaller amount. Before a court deviates up or down from the child support guidelines they must consider (1) needs of the child, (2) the resources of the parties, and (3) the circumstances of the parties.
If a paying parent falls behind on child support, then the party who receives child support can file for enforcement. If successful, the paying parent will become responsible for making a second court-ordered
payment until the owed amount is paid off. This second payment must be paid in addition to the court-ordered child support.
The child-support order may be modified if a significant change occurred that impacts the calculation using the Guidelines or the (1) needs of the child, (2) the resources of the parties, and (3) the circumstances of the parties. Significant changes warranting modification include but aren’t limited to: Paying parent is released from prison; Child moves in with the paying parent; Child develops new educational or medical needs; Change in paying parent’s earning potential or income. Additionally, in most instances the child-support order is allowed to be reviewed every three years to account for smaller, less significant changes.