Child Support Attorneys in Corpus Christi & Dallas, Texas
More than 70,000 couples divorce in Texas every year. Many of those couples have children, complicating the division of assets and debts with the emotional issues involving child custody and support.
Perhaps you are considering divorce or have started the process and are rightly concerned about the financial support of your children. Perhaps you have an existing support agreement and are wondering if you can modify it due to changes in your circumstances or those of your children. In any case, the financial support of your children is an emotional and stressful issue, but retaining a child support attorney will help.
At The Torres Law Firm, we help clients in Corpus Christi, Dallas, and Fort Worth, Texas navigate child support agreements. We have the experience and resources necessary to navigate key decisions and help you fight for your rights under Texas child support regulations. Whether you are thinking about divorce, are in the process, or wondering about modifying an existing child support agreement, let us assist you.
Understanding Child Support in Texas
In Texas, even if parents share physical custody of their children, one parent is the primary custodial parent. In general and where applicable, it is the noncustodial parent who pays child support because the custodial parent is spending more money on the children since they spend more time with that parent.
Child support is based on the noncustodial parent’s net income using the Texas child support guidelines. A noncustodial parent may pay more than the amount on the fee schedule, but not less. The court must approve the payment amount.
Calculating the amount begins with the noncustodial parent’s gross income, including wages, salaries, tips, military pay, bonuses, workers’ compensation settlements, retirement benefits, investment dividends, and any other sources of income. The court may also place an income value on assets such as a vacation home or inheritance. Once the gross income is determined, the net income is calculated by reducing the gross amount by items such as Social Security and income taxes, union dues, and the cost of health insurance or medical expenses paid by that parent for their children. The gross income is then divided by 12 to determine the monthly child support sum:
1 child = multiply the monthly net income by 20%
2 children = multiply the monthly net income by 25%
3 children = multiply the monthly net income by 30%
4 children = multiply the monthly net income by 35%
5 children = multiply the monthly net income by 40%
For 6 or more children, the amount must be at least the same as for five children.
If the noncustodial parent’s net income exceeds $7,500 per month, the court can order increased support over these sums.
If the noncustodial parent is intentionally unemployed or underemployed to reduce child support, the court can impute or attribute income based on what that parent should be earning per month.
The court can determine if child support payments should be higher or lower than the standard fee schedule, based on income determinations and the needs of the children.
Although based primarily on a fee schedule in Texas, child support can still be a complicated calculation. That is why you should work with a knowledgeable attorney during the process. Child support is, after all, awarded to the children, not to the custodial parent. Whether you will be paying child support or receiving it on behalf of your children, their best interests should be paramount.
Modifying an Existing Arrangement
You can request a child support modification from the court if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the order became effective.
For the noncustodial parent, that could mean an increase or decrease in income or an increase in the number of children the parent is now legally responsible for.
If the children’s health insurance cost for you has changed or if the children are now living with a different parent, the court might consider modifying the agreement.
Termination of Child Support
Child support is usually terminated when the last child turns 18 or completes high school, whichever is later. If a child has a disability, the support may last longer. Child support termination may also be approved by the court if the child becomes emancipated, joins the military, or if the parents remarry.
If you are in arrears with payments, child support is not terminated until you have paid them fully.
Child Support Attorneys
In Corpus Christi, Texas
No matter where you are in the divorce process or in an existing support agreement, if you have questions about child support, The Torres Attorneys can help provide answers. We help clients in Corpus Christi, Dallas, and Fort Worth, Texas navigate child support issues.
Get answers from the experienced and knowledgeable family law attorneys at The Torres Law Firm now. Call our office today.