A Look at Texas Child Support Orders

Can you and your co-parent agree to a child support amount that differs from the guidelines?

Yes. The odds are in your favor that you and your spouse or co-parent will be able to agree to a child support amount that is different than what the guidelines from the Texas Family Code set forth, as per child support laws in Texas 2022. If you and your co-parent want to do this, that is. You can look at your circumstances and then decide on what you want to do as far as setting a child support number that works better for you all. This is the degree to which you and your co-parent will have control over your case. You all may have the opportunity to inform the judge that you believe child support is not necessary at all.

Why could child support not be paid in your case?

Most Texas family law cases involve parents paying some degree of child support to even out the costs associated with raising children. If you are the custodial parent of your children, then you understand the day-to-day costs commitments associated with raising a child as the primary caretaker. You likely encounter more costs associated with food, clothing, school, extracurricular activities, and things of that nature. These are costs that are not the same for every child, but most children have these types of costs not to mention medical appointments and costs associated with the insurance period

For that reason, his state of Texas believes that non-custodial parents need to pay child support to even out those costs to a certain degree. Nobody is trying to make the argument that child support completely evens the playing field so to speak. Child support ensures that your child maintains a basic standard of living with adequate housing, clothing, and food, rather than the lifestyle they enjoyed when both parents’ incomes supported them. Additionally, Texas family court mandates that every child involved has access to medical and dental insurance.

In what circumstances could child support not be ordered?

If you and your co-parent have similar incomes and share equal custody, you may decide against paying child support. Child support aims to balance time and expenses between parents. When equalization isn’t necessary, parents often opt for no or minimal child support, based on their child’s specific needs and other case factors.

Much of this discussion revolves around negotiations in mediation. Mediation involves attending a neutral, third-party attorney’s office, where they assist in settling your case. The benefit of mediation is the ability to closely examine the facts and circumstances away from a judge, in a more informal setting. This allows focusing primarily on the child’s needs and reduces animosity between you and your co-parent.

In mediation, you must consider several issues, including the potential for spousal maintenance in a divorce and how to divide community property. Although not directly related to child support, these matters often intertwine and impact each other in a divorce case. Child custody cases do not have these types of issues to contend with but the overall financial picture for both you and your Co-parent is extremely relevant when it comes to determining child support levels for both you and your Co-parent.

From this scenario, it’s evident that child support in Texas involves numerous complex factors. When these issues intertwine, having someone on your side to provide sound advice on child support and related matters becomes crucial. Call the attorneys at the Law Office of Brian Fitton today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys. We can assist you in navigating potential conflicts and issues in your case, ensuring a favorable outcome for you and your children.

How long does child support have to be paid for in Texas?

If the court orders you to pay child support in your child custody or divorce case, you must continue this obligation until your child either turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. However, if your child dies, marries, joins the military, or becomes emancipated before this time, your child support obligation ends.

Additionally, you need to consider whether you may be in line to pay child support for A period longer than when your child reaches their high school years. This could be the case if Your child has a mental or physical disability that requires constant supervision and care. For example, if your child has to go through the medical system and receive consistent care for a condition then your Co-parent’s need for additional income may increase. As a result, whether it be in negotiations with your Co-parent or a trial with a judge then you may need to think about how your obligation to pay support to your Co-parent could extend beyond the 18th birthday of your child.

What happens if you stop paying child support before your child’s 18th birthday or high school graduation?

As it sometimes happens in a child support case you may find yourself in a position where your ability to pay child support becomes more limited Over certain periods due to a loss in income. It could be that you lose your job or otherwise find yourself struggling to pay your bills not to mention child support. If that sounds like a position that you may see yourself in due to an irregular income, then you will want to pay close attention to this section of today’s blog post.

If you anticipate missing a child support payment, the first step is to communicate with your co-parent. Inform them about any financial difficulties you’re facing. While it may require swallowing pride, prioritizing what’s best for yourself and your children is crucial. Keeping such issues secret would be a mistake. Being honest with your co-parent about your circumstances increases the likelihood of them being willing to work with you on a payment plan, potentially avoiding an immediate enforcement lawsuit.

Your co-parent could pursue enforcement actions if you begin missing child support payments. Such cases seek to enforce the terms of a prior court order, holding you responsible for the failure to pay child support. Your co-parent has the right to demand payment for all overdue child support and additional penalties for each missed payment. In severe cases, you may even face jail time as determined by the judge.

It’s important to note that failure to pay child support doesn’t give your co-parent the right to deny you visitation with your child. Similarly, you cannot withhold child support payments if your co-parent denies you visitation. Enforcement actions are the appropriate means to enforce child custody and support orders, ensuring your right to see your child irrespective of other factors.

Are you able to change your child support payments in Texas?

Yes, the law in Texas allows you to change the amount of child support that you pay to your Co-parent under certain circumstances. The first of these circumstances would be if you and your Co-parent agree to the change between the two of you. Surprisingly, you and your co-parent might agree to adjust the child support amount based on your current circumstances. For example, there could be that you have a decrease or increase in income that justifies a modification in child support. What you could do is contact your Co-parent and discuss the need to amend your child support in some way. Or he or she could contact you to discuss the need to amend your child support.

The most common reason to modify a child support order is a significant change in your or your child’s circumstances since the last order. Material and substantial changes are a significant change in your life, the life of your Co-parent, or even the life of your child. This substantial change could be related to an increase in income associated with the job change. The substantial change could also be related to a decrease in income associated with the job change or even a job loss.

Finally, your child could be having physical or emotional needs that have increased the costs associated with their medical or psychiatric care. Either way, you should review your circumstances and consider hiring an attorney whether you want to bring a modification case or defend yourself in a modification case against you. Modification cases, while complex, can resolve quickly with an attorney who actively negotiates a settlement with your co-parent.

Ensuring the Best Interests of Your Child in Modification Cases

The final piece of the puzzle when it comes to modification cases is that modification needs to be in the best interest of your child. The best interest determination Is a common one across any issue dealing with your children in a family law case. However, even if you and your co-parent agree on a child support issue during negotiations, a family court judge must approve the agreement, ensuring it serves your child’s best interests. The best interests of your child depend upon your child’s current situation as well as what their situation may be in the future. Their physical and mental health are also considerations when it comes to the best interest determination.

Ultimately, the circumstances of your family will determine whether there has been material in a substantial change in the circumstances of your case. This may seem redundant or repetitive, but it is the truth. In family law cases the specific circumstances that you and your family have gone through matter a great deal. While it is true that the Texas family code in its statutes will inform the judge when deciding ultimately the family court judge will base their decision making upon their own experiences and handling family law cases and in what your family needs and what the best interests of your children are.

Parenting Time Shifts: Understanding Material and Substantial Changes

A material and substantial change could be something that involves a major shift or alteration in the parenting time between you and your Co-parent. You may end up becoming the parent who receives child support and has the children during the school week and your Co-parent may end up being the parent who pays child support and has visitation with the children on the weekends. The type of modification requested and what best serves your children’s interests will influence the entire process.

Another major change that could have been a part of your life or the life of your Co-parent over the past few years is a change in your work. One of the major impacts of the pandemic has not so much been on many people losing work but many people changing the kind of work that they do. All certain people have left the workforce others have completely changed what they have done. We have seen mass amounts of people walk away from the teaching field and healthcare field. You may be one of those folks who have changed what you have done considering the changes to your profession that have come about as a result of the pandemic.

What we do know about material and substantial changes is that you need to be able to describe that material and substantial change in an affidavit to the family court judge along with your petition to modify. The judge will examine the affidavit, a sworn statement under oath, to see if it suggests a possible material and substantial change. Following that, you and your attorney must gather evidence for a trial but also prepare to negotiate a settlement with your co-parent during the case. The value of an experienced family law attorney in these steps is immense.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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Other Updated Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Texas Custody Lawyer on Your Child Support Rights
  2. What is considered child support?
  3. Four Important Child Support Factors in Texas
  4. How is Child Support Calculated in Texas?
  5. How Can a Failure to Pay Child Support Impact Your Vehicle Registration?
  6. What happens to child support if a parent dies?
  7. Can You Withhold Visitation if Your Ex Hasn鈥檛 Paid Child Support?
  8. What Is Medical Support In Texas?
  9. If you have primary custody (custodial parent), you can still be ordered to pay child support?
  10. Can Parents Agree to No Child Support in Texas?
  11. Can you sign your rights away and not pay child support?
  12. Does Child Support End if My Child Gets a Job?
  13. What happens to child support if a parent dies?
  14. The Ultimate Guide to Child Support in Texas: What Every Parent Needs to Know

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