Kerrville Child Support Lawyer Guiding Clients Facing Child Support Issues in Texas

Child support is one of many items that need to be discussed as a part of a divorce order, but other instances could also result in a child support order – including when the parents of a child are not married. Learn how child support works in Texas and how a child support attorney can help you resolve your child support issues favorably.

When Does a Parent Need to Pay Child Support?

In general terms, an individual who has children and does not live with those children or with the other parent may be ordered to pay child support as a way of helping the custodial parent cover the child’s basic living expenses. A child support order can be issued by the court as a result of a divorce or sometimes as a result of establishing paternity.

In Texas, an unmarried father of a child does not automatically gain parental rights over the child until he signs a document called an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) or until paternity has been legally established through the court. Once paternity is established, that father has both paternal rights and duties and may be ordered to pay child support.

The noncustodial parent is required to continue making child support payments until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. Child support may also end if the child gets married, joins the military, or gets legally emancipated. In some cases, child support payments may continue indefinitely if the child has a permanent physical or mental disability.

How Are Child Support Payments Calculated in Texas?

In Texas, child support payments are calculated using a formula that considers the obligor’s net income and the number of supported children. The obligor’s net income is determined after subtracting various costs and taxes from that parent’s gross income and attributing a percentage of the remaining net income to child support payments.

The net income amount is multiplied by 20% if the individual supports one child, 25% for two children, 30% for three children, 35% for four children, and 40% for five children, considering a maximum net income of $7500 a month. If a parent earns more, the judge may set a higher support amount, depending on the child’s needs. The judge will determine the amount of each child support payment and how often the parent is required to make the support payment, and for how long. The paying parent (the obligor) may not make any changes to any aspect of the child support order without petitioning the court for a modification request.

Can You Go to Jail for Being Behind on Your Child Support Payments in Texas?

The state of Texas gives a child the right to receive support from both parents. A parent that fails to make child support payments may be seen as failing to uphold their parental responsibilities and could potentially face a variety of serious consequences, which could include jail time.

First of all, it is important to understand that unpaid child support payments do not simply go away. Instead, the payments will likely continue to accumulate, and the recipient may be entitled to interest. In addition, the court may order the obligor to pay a fine for each nonpayment (which could be as much as $500 per missed payment).

In Texas, the Office of the Attorney General may take action to collect missed child support payments. They can order the parent’s employer to garnish their wages, they may file a lien against that parent’s property, and they may even suspend the non-compliant parent’s driver’s license, professional license, and hunting license. They may also seize tax refunds, lottery winnings, or any other state or federal monies. Finally, the Attorney General may refer the case to court for enforcement, which could result in a jail sentence of up to six months.

If you are unable to make child support payments or need to request that the payment amount be reduced due to changes in your financial circumstances, a child support modification request should be your next step. Likewise, if the other parent is not complying with a visitation schedule, withholding child support payments tends to be frowned upon by the court. Instead, speak to a child support lawyer to learn how to get the other parent to comply with visitation orders.

What Should You Do if You Need to Request a Child Support Modification?

Once the court finalizes a child support order, the amount and frequency are assumed to be correct and meant to benefit the child and ensure the obligor is doing their part in helping provide for the child’s basic needs. However, sometimes a parent may be faced with a substantial change in their situation, such as unemployment, illness, or a disability that may affect their earning potential. If that is your case and you are struggling to make your child support payment, speak to a Kerrville child support lawyer to initiate a modification request.

The Law Offices of S. Dylan Pearcy has helped many Kerrville parents dealing with child support issues, and their legal team is prepared to answer your questions and help you settle any type of child support dispute. Whether you are a parent who needs legal help to get the other parent to comply with a child support order or you need to initiate a modification request, call our Kerrville office at (830) 222-8629 to learn your options.