If you are a parent who is anticipating a divorce in your and your spouse’s futures, then you are almost undoubtedly aware that child support is going to come into play. Either you will be on the hook to pay child support if you are the parent with whom your children do not reside with primarily, or you are set to receive child support if you are the parent with whom your children primarily reside. Based on whichever of these camps you fall you can prepare financially for the responsibility to pay or receive child support.
The reason that either you or your spouse will even have to pay child support is that the State of Texas has idea that every parent in our State has an obligation to support their children. This means either providing direct care for him or her on a daily basis or providing financial support. It’s not you cannot do both- it’s just that the only way to “even up” the score between the custodial and non custodial parent is to transfer some money from the non custodial to the custodial parent.
Even if you think you know what the law is in Texas it is likely that you don’t. That’s not to say you aren’t a smart, well read individual. It’s just that you are likely relying on the advice or knowledge of a friend, cousin or co-worker who themselves don’t know the true ins and outs of child support.
What’s more the subject of medical support rarely comes up at all when it’s just you and your friend chatting over a cup of coffee. In this day and age where the debates are many regarding how to pay for health insurance, there is a fair amount of oversight that I have seen in this area as well.
This blog post and the blog posts to follow are intended to provide information to you in order to assist you in growing your knowledge base on this important subject. So much of divorce litigation and negotiation centers around child support and as a result the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to go over the subject in some detail with you all.
Working with your spouse means avoiding being told an amount to pay for child support
If you believe that you are likely to be the parent whose responsibility it is to pay child support then you can take heart in knowing that it is unlikely that you will have to proceed to a trial in which a judge will ultimately tell you your fate when it comes to child support. On the contrary, the majority of divorce cases are negotiated upon and settle outside of court. In fact, most counties in Texas require mediation occur at least once prior to a trial.
The opportunity to settle before trial means that an agreement can be reached by you and your spouse and that takes into consider your specific needs and those of your family. A judge is well meaning but will not have a chance to consider all of the factors that you and your spouse may be able to in a long term negotiation. This means also means that you and your spouse could agree that no child support is to be paid at all. I’m not saying this is likely, but it is a possibility.
With that all said, let’s jump right into our discussion about child support. I can’t think of a better place to begin than figuring out what child support is and what it represents for parents in Texas.
Child Support: Paying and Receiving it in Texas
The State of Texas does not view child support as anything other than money that goes towards providing for the basic needs of a child. This doesn’t mean the child support you pay or receive is supposed to fully fund your son’s baseball activities or pay for your daughter’s private school. Basic needs- shelter, clothing, food- are what child support covers.
On the other hand, child support is not intended to be a “that’s that” payment for the non custodial parent. If you are the parent who will be paying child support I don’t expect that you will pay the support out to your ex spouse and then wipe your hands clean of any other support for the rest of that particular month. If you think that your child support payment covers ALL of the costs for your child then I can tell you (as a father of two kiddos, myself) that it does not. Your child support obligation is a minimum expected support figure for a monthly period. Most parents view their child support payments as only the beginning of what they intend to help pay each month and I hope you fall into this category as well.
The majority of parents who pay child support have what are called Wage Withholding Orders signed at the time of their divorce which are sent to the Attorney General’s office as well as their employer in order to have child support deducted straight from their checks as often as he or she is paid.
This is a good thing for each parent. For the parent who receives the support- if your ex spouse falls behind in payments then you can simply go online and look to the ledger provided by the Attorney General. It is fairly simple then to figure out how far behind your ex spouse is and what is owed to you. If you are the parent who is to pay the support then all responsibility to pay is taken out of your hands. The money is automatically paid and your ex spouse can never accuse you of not paying on time.
If having payments go through the Attorney General’s Office are a good thing overall, then direct payments made from you to your ex spouse are a bad thing. For one, there is no record of the payments made and you run the risk of never getting credit for these “informal” payments. On the flip side, if you are supposed to be paid support and never receive it you have nothing to “prove” the payments were never made. You can attempt to retrieve records from your checking account but this is much tougher road to travel down than simply providing a ledger from the Attorney General’s website.
Part Two of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan’s series on Child and Medical Support will be posted tomorrow
A subject as dense and important as child support requires more than just one blog post in my opinion. Part two will come tomorrow wherein a discussion of medical support and non-standard child support payments will be discussed.
If you have any questions for one of our licensed family law attorneys please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. A free of charge consultation is only a phone call away where your questions on any subject related to family law can be answered.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Important Information Explained Regarding Child Support and Medical Support in Texas, Part Three
- Important Information Explained Regarding Child Support and Medical Support in Texas, Part Two
- Texas Child Support Basics
- Texas Child Support Basics, Part Two
- Can my Texas Driver's License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
- Child Support Modification in Texas (Part 1)
- What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
- Texas Child Support Appeals
- In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Tomball, Texas Child Support Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child support, it's important to speak with one of our Tomball, TX Child Support Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our child supportlawyers in Tomball TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles child supportcases in Tomball, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.