Child Support Attorney in Spring, Texas
Parents provide support for their children in different ways. However, the only type of support required by law is financial. Of course, not all parents are required to provide the same dollar amount to support their children. The law recognizes that different parents have different financial means and obligations. Although the family court uses a formula to calculate the amount of child support a parent will pay, a number of variables make each calculation unique. Child support is not awarded to punish a parent. Rather, it is awarded to serve the best interest of the child.
Parents throughout Texas have counted on family law attorney Robin Scott to guide them through the process of establishing and modifying child support arrangements in divorce and paternity. In fact, family law is the sole focus of Robin Scott Law Firm, PLLC. If you live in Spring or anywhere else in Texas, including Fort Bend, Montgomery, and Harris Counties, set up a consultation today.
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How Is Child Support Calculated in Texas?
Child support and custody are inexorably linked. The parent who has primary physical custody of the child provides for that child’s daily support by doing such things as buying groceries, paying rent or mortgage for the child’s primary residence, and keeping them clothed. Therefore, it is the noncustodial parent who is obligated to pay child support.
The dollar amount paid is a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s net income, based on the number of children that parent is supporting. Moreover, “income” is not just the wages or salary earned by that parent. Other sources of income factored into the equation include military pay, commissions, tips, bonuses, self-employment income, rents and royalties, and interest and dividends.
If the noncustodial parent is not receiving a salary or wage, they are still not off the hook for support. Unemployment and retirement benefits, severance pay, workers’ compensation payments, veteran’s benefits, Social Security income and disability payments, and in some cases, the value of assets owned by the noncustodial parent are also considered as income.
To calculate the parent’s net income, certain deductions are made from the gross income, including sums paid for Social Security and income taxes, mandatory retirement contributions, union dues, health insurance premiums for policies covering the children, and child support payments for other children.
Can the Court Deviate from the Child Support Formula?
The law also provides protection for the child support obligation if the paying parent becomes unemployed or underemployed voluntarily to avoid paying the amount of child support they should be. In such a case, the court will “impute” the parent’s income based on factors such as their employment history, education, job skills, age, and assets. Barriers to income potential will also be considered in imputing income, such as physical and mental health status, criminal history, and literacy. The court can also use its discretion when accounting for factors such as any special needs of the child.
Can An Existing Texas Child Support Order Be Changed?
Child support modification in Texas is accommodated by the law under certain circumstances. Those circumstances must meet a level the court considers “material” or significant changes.
Examples of material changes for the noncustodial parent include the involuntary unemployment or significant increase or decrease in income, an increase in the number of children the parent is required to support, substantial change in the cost of the child’s health insurance coverage, or if the child’s primary residence is now with the noncustodial parent.
Child support is ordered by the court. As such, failure to adhere to it is contempt. Moreover, only the court can modify an existing order. Until a new order is issued, parents must comply with the existing one. You should work with a child support lawyer to seek modification of a child support award.
When Does Child Support End in Texas?
Termination of child support generally occurs when the child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school, or if the child becomes an emancipated minor, marries, or joins the military. Child support will also terminate if the paternity of the paying parent is disproved and, of course, upon the death of the child. In some cases, child support can be awarded into the child’s adult years— for example, if the child has special needs.
The court’s child support order does not terminate automatically. The paying parent will need to file for termination of the order. Until such action is taken by the court, the parent must comply with it.
Child Support Attorney in Spring, Texas
Texas law supports children by ensuring their parents provide for them financially until they reach adulthood. How much is a matter determined by the court. Given the variety of factors considered, you are wise to work with an experienced family law attorney like Robin Scott. Reach out to Robin Scott Law Firm, PLLC, in Spring, Texas, to talk about establishing or modifying child support.