Clearing up rumors about child support in Texas
One of the areas of
family law that attorneys with the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan get questions asked the most about is
child support. Whether you are the parent who pays the child support or you are the
parent who receives the child support it is understandable to want to
know what your rights are. A lot of people go to family members and friends
to ask questions about child support and while those folks may want to
provide you with helpful information there is no telling how accurate
their advice actually is.
The law changes every so often and what your family member has told you
may no longer be true. Worse yet, their understanding of the law may not
be accurate which means that their advice is just plain wrong. Last, some
people may be providing advice based off of their one experience with
child support fifteen years ago after they had to go through the process.
With that said, let’s examine some important myths associated with
child support in Texas so that you can have a little broader base knowledge
from which to operate.
The only source for how much child support must be paid is the Texas Family Code. It is true that the “guidelines” support figures from the
Texas Family Code are assumed to be in the
best interest of the child by a court. However, a judge can take a number of factors
into consideration- including the future needs of the child for whom support
is paid as well as the income earning potential of the spouse set to receive
child support when determining what an appropriate level of support is.
What’s more, if you and your spouse are able to settle your case
outside of court you both are able to agree to a reasonable child support
50/50 custody split means no child support. This is not exactly true, but many, many people would like it to be. The
idea (which makes sense) is that since the child spends the same amount
of time with mom and dad that no parent should have to compensate the
other for care when the child is not in their
possession. Quite honestly it is usually fathers who will speak to me about wanting
to see this sort of visitation enacted. While it is possible to not have
to pay child support as a result of splitting custody 50/50, a judge will
still take the totality of the circumstances into consideration when deciding
what child support award, if any, is appropriate. An easy compromise of
sorts is to have the lesser amount of child support subtracted from the
larger amount of support. Whatever the number is that is what will have
to be paid from parent to parent.
The State Disbursement Unit takes money in for child support and disburses
it to the parent to whom child support is owed. This typically is a true statement but if your child receives government
assistance in the form of
health insurance (Medicaid, for example) then a portion of that money will be directed
to the government through the Texas Attorney General’s
State Disbursement Unit. If you are the parent who is set to receive child support it is worthwhile
to know this so that you are not simply looking at the numbers contained in your
Final Decree of Divorce and assuming that you will get to collect one hundred percent of that money.
Whatever the monthly award of child support is you are stuck with that
amount until the child turns 18. There are many circumstances that can lead to a child support award either
decreasing or increasing. For starters, if the income of the parent who
pays child support changes a great deal then either parent can request
a court date to discuss the possibility of increasing or decreasing the
child support obligation depending on the change in income. Likewise,
if the needs of the child have changed (if he or she has become disabled
since the time the divorce was finalized) then a
modification of the child support award can be won. Finally, in some situations an
adult child will require support beyond the time he or she graduates from
high school. If you are the parent who receives child support and believe
that this is a necessary step to take for you and your child then you
will need to file a motion to modify your divorce decree right away.
If you’re being denied the opportunity to see your child then you
don’t have to pay child support. This goes hand in hand with the idea that some fathers and mothers have
that if their rights are
terminated to the child then their need to pay child support also terminates. A judge
would most likely disagree with this thought and instead increase the
child support amount due to the increased time that the child is having
to spend with their other parent as a result of not spending any time
with the parent who pays child support.
In a similar line of argument, some fathers and mothers who are being denied
the right to see their child believe that since they are not able to see
the child that no support needs to be paid as a result. This is not the
case, however, just as you would not be able to withhold the child from
their other parent simply because he or she is not paying child support.
If you started to withhold
visitation at the same time your ex spouse is withholding child support you both
may have causes of action to bring an enforcement suit against the other parent.
Questions on child support? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today
If you have any additional questions on child support please
Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. A licensed
family law attorney is available to meet with you six days a week and can answer
your questions in a comfortable setting at no cost to you.