San Antonio Child Support Lawyer Helping Clients Resolve Child Support Issues in Texas
Child support is one of several important issues that need to be settled before a divorce can be concluded. While the courts in Texas expect both parents to be responsible for caring and providing for the child equally, the noncustodial parent is usually required to provide financial support in the form of child support payments to the other parent. However, some situations require a child support order to be modified, and knowing the right steps to take is key. Learn the basics of child support in Texas and when to seek the help of a child support lawyer.
How Do Child Support Payments Work in Texas?
Typically, child support orders are established through a court order following a divorce, but they can also result from a legal action in which an unmarried mother seeks to establish a man as the legal father of her child, or a father wishes to gain parental rights over a child born while the parents were unmarried. This is usually referred to as paternity establishment.
In both cases, if the child resides with one of the parents, it is natural for that parent to have to bear most of the expenses related to providing for the child’s basic needs, education, and well-being. However, Texas courts understand both parents wishing to share parental rights are also expected to share the responsibilities and expenses of raising the child. The parent that does not live with the child but wishes to continue having parental rights will usually need to provide a percentage of their income to the other parent in the form of child support payments.
The court will use state guidelines to decide the amount of each child support payment and the frequency in which the noncustodial parent will need to make these payments. Common arrangements can include bi-weekly payments or monthly payments, but the judge will ultimately set a payment schedule that will be the most beneficial for the child, depending on the income the noncustodial parent generates.
How Much Child Support Will a Noncustodial Parent Pay?
The child support amount is determined by the court. The court follows guidelines – a standard formula to determine how much of the noncustodial parent’s net income should be set aside for child support payments. The calculation takes into consideration the number of children receiving support and starts at 20% of the noncustodial parent’s income for one child.
For two children, the percentage goes up to 25%. The scale continues up to 5 children, requiring 40% of the parent’s net income. If more than five children are being supported, the payment amount will be at least 40%, but the court has the discretion to set higher payments if deemed appropriate for the needs of the children. The same may apply to parents with a high net worth making more than $7,500.00 a month – the court may analyze the needs of the child and decide on a higher support amount if deemed appropriate.
These guidelines are subject to changes and updates, and certain cases in which a parent is supporting children in more than one household may result in child support payments that are lower than the state’s guidelines if so determined by the court. Always check that you have the most recent child support guidelines, and remember to ask an attorney if you are unsure about whether the child support payment amounts you have been ordered to pay or receive are correct.
Can I Ask For Higher Payments if My Ex Is Making More Money Now?
As explained above, the noncustodial parent’s current income is used to calculate the amount of child support payments, and that amount cannot be changed without another court order. However, sometimes the non-custodial parent’s income can change due to a life event such as receiving a promotion at work and increasing their annual income significantly. In these situations, the custodial parent may be able to ask the court for a modification.
A modification request is a legal action that can be initiated by either parent to ask the judge to change any of the aspects of the child custody and support order, including the payment amount and frequency, health insurance coverage, and custody or visitation matters. If your ex-spouse is making more money now than they were when the order was signed, you may request the judge to allow a higher support amount.
You may also have grounds for a modification request if your child’s needs have changed, such as the child’s medical coverage needs have become more extensive due to a new illness or disability that requires medical care or generates additional expenses, such as the need for a caretaker. On the other hand, if your ex-spouse’s income has dropped, he or she may also request the judge for a lesser payment amount. The bottom line is that while a request for modification is possible, the party requesting the modification should be prepared to show evidence of why the modification would be fair and help protect the child’s best interests.
Custodial parents who are simply unhappy with the support amount their child is receiving or have other personal issues with their ex-spouse would not likely have their request granted by the court. Likewise, if either parent decides to re-marry and their new spouse makes a significant income or has a lot of high-value assets, the income of their new spouse does not affect any aspect of the child support order and cannot be taken into consideration as part of a modification request.
If you are thinking about initiating a child support modification request, your first step should be to consult with a seasoned child support lawyer in San Antonio. A child support modification request includes several steps and is subject to approval or denial by a child support review specialist. Your lawyer can help you understand your options and, if applicable, help you prepare your request and gather enough evidence to support it.
When Should I See a Child Support Lawyer?
Child support is an important item that must be settled as a part of your divorce, and without a skilled child support lawyer on your side, you may not be able to protect your rights. Whether you are a noncustodial parent who fears your ex-spouse is making unreasonable demands and asking for too much money, or you are a custodial parent struggling to make ends meet because the other parent is not following court orders and failing to make child support payments on time, consulting with a child support attorney is the recommended first step for your situation.
Sometimes, child support orders are resolved unfairly or end up having errors that can affect your financial well-being or not provide enough to cover the expenses necessary to give your child a good quality of life. At the Law Offices of S. Dylan Pearcy, Attorney S. Dylan Pearcy and his legal team have helped many clients in the San Antonio area to resolve a wide variety of child support issues. Our team understands how nerve-wracking the entire process may be, and can give you the right advice and legal services needed to ensure your child is receiving the right financial support and that your child support and custody orders are fair.
No matter how simple or complex your case may be, if you have questions about child support payments in Texas or need help resolving an issue, contact the Law Offices of S. Dylan Pearcy in San Antonio by calling (210) 953-7486 and requesting an initial consultation to discuss your legal matter. Our firm is here to help you reach a favorable outcome.