In addition to love, respect and guidance, children of divorced or separated parents need financial support. Texas child support laws are meant to insure that children have that financial support.
How Child Support is Handled Under Texas Law
Setting up child support is fairly straightforward in Texas. The basic child support guidelines established by Texas law provide that the parent who has primary custody will receive child support based on the net disposable income of the non-custodial parent.
For example, if the couple has one child, Texas' child support guidelines state that the non-custodial parent will pay 20 percent of his or her net disposable income to the custodial parent and provide health and dental insurance. Payment of monthly child support can be arranged so that the funds are deducted directly from the obligor's paycheck, sent to the State Disbursement Unit (“SDU”) and forwarded to the other parent. The SDU keeps records of payments for both parents and the courts rely on those records if collection efforts are necessary.
Texas law allows parents to make child support agreements that differ from the legal guidelines if the agreement is in the child's best interest. Support can vary from the child support guidelines in certain situations, including those in which parents have non-standard possession schedules. Each family is different and with Linda’s help you can evaluate different support and possession options and reach an agreement through mediation, collaborative law or negotiation.
Changing Child Support Amounts or Enforcing a Child Support Agreement
The assistance of a lawyer may be necessary to modify a child support order. If either parent's financial circumstances change, it may be necessary to modify the original child support agreement. Texas law allows for modifications of divorce decrees or child support orders if circumstances change. Those modifications can be accomplished through mediation, collaborative law, agreement or, if necessary, at a hearing before the Court.
Legal assistance may also be necessary if child support agreement is not being paid as agreed or ordered. Either parent may seek legal representation in a child support enforcement action — either to enforce the child support agreement or to defend against a petition for Enforcement.
Linda Stanley’s goal is to provide her clients with a child support order that is fair, reasonable and easily implemented or enforced. A well-drafted order can help you avoid additional litigation in the future.
If you have questions about child support — before, during or after a divorce — we invite you to contact our offices to schedule a confidential consultation.