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 will 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 primarily, or you are set to receive child support if you are the parent with whom your children live. Based on whichever of these camps you fall, you can prepare financially for the responsibility to pay or receive child support.
Either you or your spouse will even have to pay child support because the State of Texas has an idea that every parent in our State must support their children. This means either providing direct care for them daily 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 noncustodial parent is to transfer some money from the noncustodial to the custodial parent.
Even if you think you know what the law is in Texas, likely, you don't. That's not to say you aren't an intelligent, 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 doesn't know the actual 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.
This blog post and the blog posts to follow are intended to provide information to you to assist you in growing your knowledge base on this critical subject. So much of divorce litigation and negotiation centers around child support, and as a result, the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, 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.
Suppose you believe that you are likely to be the parent whose responsibility is to pay child support. In that case, you can take heart in knowing that it is unlikely that you will have to proceed to a trial where a judge will ultimately tell you your fate when it comes to child support. On the contrary, most divorce cases are negotiated upon and settled outside of court. Most counties in Texas require mediation to occur at least once before a trial.
The opportunity to settle before trial means that you and your spouse can reach an agreement, and that takes into consideration 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 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 a child's basic needs. 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 noncustodial parent. If you are the parent paying child support, I don't expect you to pay the help 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.
The majority of parents who pay child support have Wage Withholding Orders signed at the time of their divorce, which are sent to the Attorney General's office and their employer to have child support deducted straight from their checks as often as they are 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 go online and look to the ledger provided by the Attorney General. It is relatively simple then to figure out how far behind your ex-spouse is and what is owed to you. If you are the parent to pay the support, then all responsibility to pay is taken out of your hands. The money is automatically spent, and your ex-spouse can never accuse you of not paying on time.
If paying through the Attorney General's Office is a good thing overall, then direct payments made from you to your ex-spouse are a terrible 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 a much more challenging road to travel down than simply providing a ledger from the Attorney General's website.
Part Two of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC's series on Child and Medical Support, will be posted tomorrow.
In my opinion, a subject as dense and essential as child support requires more than just one blog post. Part two will come tomorrow, wherein medical help 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, PLLC, 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, PLLC | Tomball, Texas Child Support Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child support, it's essential to speak with one of our Tomball, TX Child Support Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our child support lawyersin Tomball, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles child support casesin 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.