Child Support AttorneyProviding the greater Austin area with legal help in child support matters
Child Support in Texas
In every custody case, Texas law requires judges to make orders for the financial support of the children. This includes requiring the parents to cooperate in maintaining health insurance for the children, and ordering one or both parents to provide monthly financial support for the children. Judges follow a formula for calculating child support that is set forth in the Texas Family Code, based on the number of children the parties have, and the monthly net resources of the parent who will pay support. This is called “guideline child support.” While judges almost always order guideline child support, there are a number of factors that allow judges to deviate from the guidelines, such as when a child has special needs, or when a parent has to travel long distances to exercise his or her possession of the children.
Child Support Enforcement
The law gives judges more power to enforce child support obligations than just about any other type of debt. Because Texas has a very strong policy in favor of requiring parents to financially support their children, there are very severe penalties for parents who ignore a child support order. Child support payments are generally made through an organization called the State Disbursement Unit, which keeps a record of all support payments a parent makes. Because the child support records are readily accessible, it is generally very easy to prove to a judge that the other parent has not been paying support. Some judges will have the non-paying party arrested on the spot, though most are given a very short period of time to comply with the order to avoid incarceration.
Child Support Modification
Child support is subject to being modified for a variety of reasons. The most common basis for modifying support is an increase or decrease in the income of the parent paying support. Since child support is based on a specific percentage of the obligor’s monthly net resources, it is necessarily subject to fluctuations. However, to prevent constant litigation to adjust child support, the law has certain prerequisites to filing suit, namely, that a certain amount of time has passed since the last ordered was entered, and that the new support obligation will vary by a specific dollar amount or percentage from the previous amount.