Whether you are expected to pay or receive child support in a divorce or Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR), there is no one topic that I answer questions about more frequently than child support. It is a topic that seems to get people going one way or another. This is understandable no matter what position you find yourself in.
If you are the parent who will pay child support, then you may be looking at child support as a burden on your already tight budget. You love your child and want to do what you can to help provide for them, but the fact remains that something seems "unjust" about your having to pay money into a system for the support of your child, yet that money is going to your ex-spouse's bank account rather than directly to your child.
On the other hand, you may be in a position where you are the primary conservator of your child. This means that your child lives with you throughout the week, and you have the primary responsibility of raising them. While there is a child support order in a place where you receive a certain sum of money from your ex-spouse each month, that sum barely covers the cost of groceries for the month. What about daycare, school clothes, extracurriculars, and the braces they are supposed to have put on in a few weeks?
Today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, will introduce the topic of child support by posing some questions and answering them for you. I hope many of these questions are either one you have asked yourself or relevant to you and your situation.
Who is responsible for paying child support?
The law in Texas is that parents should support their children. The necessities of life- food, clothing, shelter, and education are needed to live, and our state laws on this subject have in mind.
After a separation or divorce, your child will reside with you or their other parent. If your child resides primarily with their other parent, you will still have an obligation to support your child. Often that obligation is fulfilled by being ordered to pay child support. To define some terminology at the outset of today's blog, the parent who is ordered to pay child support is termed the Obligor, and the parent who is ordered to receive child support is termed the Obligee.
How do you pay child support?
If you are ordered to pay child support by a judge in a family law case, you will make regular support payments in a specific amount to your child's other parent. Typically there is one payment made to the other parent, although in some cases, it is split up into bi-monthly payments.
What irks many parents, and you may count yourself among those parents, is that there are no limitations or restrictions on how the other parent can spend the child support. The State of Texas only tracks the payments made, not how the payments are spent.
There is a presumption that the money paid in child support will support the child in helping to provide for the necessities that we discussed at the outset of this blog post. Either the child support money will go directly to pay for those items or will indirectly pay for them by helping the other parent offset the costs already provided for them.
The Office of the Attorney General in Texas handles child support payments through the Child Support Registry. Payments for child support are first sent here and then go on to the custodial parent's bank account.
The Registry has a ledger of payments made, partial payments made, and payments missed. It is not recommended that payments be paid directly from you to your child's other parent. This is because informal payments may not count per your divorce decree, and even if they do, there is no way to keep track of payments definitively. You can informally do so, but if the other parent argues that a payment is missed, you must rely on your informal tracking to prove them wrong.
Wage Withholding Orders
Child support payments will typically be taken straight out of your paycheck either once a month or bi-monthly. Along with your Divorce Decree, a Wage Withholding Order document will be drafted and submitted to the judge for their signature. This document allows your employer to withhold money from your paychecks to pay your monthly child support obligation. The order will remain with your employer.
If you change jobs, you must contact the court and your child's other parent to inform them. Your new employer's information will need to be submitted to complete a new Wage Withholding Order. While this may seem invasive, paying your child support in this manner can often simplify the process. For one, there is no question about how you will pay your child support each month.
Your employer will see to it that your child support gets paid. This removes much of the responsibility on your end. From your child's other parent's perspective, there is a neat ledger online that shows the payments that have been made, in what amounts, and on what dates. If the need to return to court ever arises, that parent can do so with a straightforward ledger showing payments made.
Health Insurance Costs
If you are ordered to pay child support for your child, you will also be on the hook for needing to provide them with health insurance. The coverage can come through your employer if health insurance is available through work or purchasing a private plan.
Other options include public options like CHIP or Medicaid. If the public option is eventually chosen, you will be responsible for paying the State back for whatever health insurance costs are every month. Finally, if you cannot provide health insurance but your ex-spouse can through their employer, you will be responsible for reimbursing them.
How to get an order for child support- tomorrow's blog topic.
Now that we have introduced child support, we can start to discuss the ins and outs of a family law case on this subject. For instance, how would you go about filing for child support? Once that step is taken care of, what amount of support is likely to be awarded, and how is child support calculated? These relevant questions and many others will be the subject of tomorrow's blog post.
In the meantime, if you have questions for the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, please do not hesitate to contact us today. We have a team of licensed and experienced family law attorneys who can assist you with your questions in free of charge consultations.
The most challenging part of a family law case is often beginning the process and knowing where to start. A quick meeting with one of our attorneys can provide you with that information and the peace of mind you may seek.
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"
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Defining a material and substantial change in a child support modification case
- How to correctly calculate child support in Texas
- Is Overtime Pay or Bonus Pay Considered for Texas Child Support?
- Child Support in Texas: What is the most you will have to pay, and what are the exceptions to that rule?
- The Dirty Trick of Quitting Your Job to Avoid Child Support During a Texas Divorce
- Can I get child support while my Texas divorce is pending?
- Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Have Joint Custody of My Child in Texas?
- Can I Sue My Ex for Retroactive or Back Child Support in Texas?
- Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
- Texas Child Support Appeals
- In Texas, are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- Why Ignoring Child Support Obligations is a Bad Idea in Texas
- Can I get child support and custody of my kids in Texas if we were never married?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, 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 Houston, TX, child support lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our child support lawyers in Houston are skilled at listening to your goals and developing a strategy to meet those goals during this trying process. 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 cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, 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.