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Calculating child support in Texas using real-world situations

In yesterday's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we spent a great deal of time going over the essential pieces of information about child support in Texas. Ultimately what most people want to know, and what I'm sure you do as well, is how child support payments are going to affect your bottom line as a parent. Whether you are the parent who will be responsible for paying child support or you are the parent who will be receiving child support this is undoubtedly a contentious and much-debated topic in the field of family law.

We can discuss theory and history of child support until the chickens come home to roost but that won't make a bit of difference when it comes to actually be able to apply those things to your real life. Are you going to struggle to make rent if you are on the hook for paying child support? Can you actually count on the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to receive and transmit a payment to you from your ex-spouse? The story of child support is not one of figures and percentages contained in the Texas Family Code but in reality, it is a story of how those issues affect you and your child.

In today’s blog post I would like to start out by running some hypothetical scenarios with you. These scenarios aim to cover a few different types of situations that may be relevant to you and your family specific situation. Without knowing exactly what you are going through it is impossible for me to tell you exactly how your case will turn out. However, by applying the analysis that we are about to go through in these scenarios to your own life you should have a better idea about how child support could apply to you specifically.

Two kids, average income

To begin, let's examine a situation that many of you reading this blog post is likely facing. Your net monthly resources on a month are $3,000. You are going through a divorce and find yourself in a position where your soon to be ex-wife is going to be named the primary conservator of your children with the right to designate the primary residence of your kids. This means that you will be paying child support to your ex-wife.

With two kids before the court, you will be ordered to pay 25% of those net monthly resources towards child support on a monthly basis. Some simple math will tell you that $750 will be owed in child support as a result. This is a typical breakdown for families where the parent obligated to pay child support and has no other children in the world that he is responsible for. That brings us to our next scenario

Three kids (two before the court), average income

Let's take the preceding example one step further. Suppose that you are responsible for paying child support for your two children from your current marriage. The above math would hold that you are on the hook for $750 per month in child support. However, in this scenario, you are responsible for the care of a child from a previous relationship as well. In total, you have three kids, but only two are relevant to your divorce. What happens then?

The State of Texas allows you as a parent to receive a “credit” if you are responsible for providing for a child who is not presently before the court. The Texas Family Code has the specific percentages that apply for your situation and you can head there to learn more. Using the facts from our current scenario, you would be on the hook for paying only 22.5% of our net monthly resources towards child support due to a credit of 2.5% for your being responsible for another child as well.

Basically, the more children you have who are not before the court in regard to your current case then a greater percentage will be deducted from your percentage of resources that you need to pay in child support.

Child Support issues are overall very straightforward. So much of the debate concerning this subject is removed due to the fact that our state laws on this subject dictate what needs to be paid for most families. If you find yourself with any questions on this subject please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. One of our licensed family law attorneys can meet with you six days a week at our office for a free of charge consultation. There you can ask whatever questions you like and can have your concerns addressed by an attorney who practices exclusively in the field of Texas family law.

Military Divorces and Civilian Divorces are not identical

While the laws of divorce cases are identical for all residents of Texas, the circumstances that members of our military are affected by cause their divorces to differ in many regards from civilian cases. Much of this has to do with the nature of a military servicemember’s job. If you can count yourself among those who are proudly representing our nation then you know first hand that your responsibilities and obligations different significantly from civilian persons in the United States.

The reality is that if you are in the military you are much more mobile, like it or not, than most of your fellow citizens. It is not uncommon for members of our military to get married in one state and to move around a considerable amount after that. It is that mobility that can make your divorce more complicated than many other folks going through the same process.

It is as a result of these differences that there are some laws in place that are intended to address a wide range of issues related to your service to our country as a member of the military. The relatively straightforward subjects that we all deal with in divorce: child support, child custody, retirement benefits and division of property exist in military divorces as well but with different circumstances attached to them. These unique circumstances and how they cause military divorces to differ from civilian divorces is what I would like to discuss with you today in the second half of our blog post.

Can your spouse file for divorce and get a judgment when you are overseas?

If you have spent any amount of time overseas while in the military I’m sure there are moments where you are wondering what’s happening in your backyard at home. Or in your home. Or at church. The fact is that while technology has shrunk the world and made it possible for us to know more about our home and our families, there is still quite a bit that we are not able to know if distance is an issue. Certainly being engaged in military operations in another country qualify for being busy in a place thousands of miles away from home.

Going through these operations requires a great deal of skill and concentration on a daily basis. Knowing that a divorce could be on the horizon will make this concentration even more difficult for you. The last thing you need is to be consumed with the fear that while you are overseas serving our country, your spouse is back in the United States planning for and filing a divorce without your knowing about it.

Fortunately, you are protected under a federal law known as the Service Members Civil Relief Act. If your spouse were to file for divorce this law would force the case to be delayed until you are no longer on active duty. Once your active duty status is terminated any court proceedings can still be delayed for up to sixty days in order to allow you some time to shift back into your life in the United States.

Texas law is lenient when it comes to establishing residency for a divorce

Although the law we just finished discussing is one passed by our federal government, the laws that govern your divorce: child support, child custody, spousal maintenance and the division of property, will be governed by Texas state divorce laws. Essentially you can qualify for residency in Texas for the purposes of filing for divorce if you consider Texas to be your home. Therefore, you do not even have to be a current resident of Texas in order to file for divorce here.

This is a big deal when it comes to many issues most notably the division of property. The laws in Texas are based on a theory known as community property where you and your spouse will likely be made to divide any property acquired during the course of your marriage (including income) basically in a 50/50 manner. Most other states are "common law" states where property is divided in a manner that is not 50/50. In those states, if your income was used to purchase something during the marriage that property goes to you. So, if you are a spouse who has not worked in some time you are at a disadvantage in most other states besides Texas.

Military retirement benefits and divorce

Another federal law comes into play when it comes to the subject of dividing up military retirement benefits. While the laws in Texas that govern the division of retirement benefits are relevant to an extent. The Uniformed Services Former Spousal Protection Act (USFSPA) allows you as the spouse of a military member to receive the direct payment of military retirement benefits. You will also be given the right to access certain on-base facilities as you transition into your post-divorce life. As far as what a court in the state of Texas would be able to determine, the USFSPA would allow your court to divide the military pension according to our state laws on that subject. That does not mean that the military pension will have to be divided up, it just means that it can be done according to our state laws.

Asking a court to name a temporary conservator of your children while you are overseas

If you are a military member who is named as the primary conservator of your children then you will likely need to request that a person or persons be named in your place to care for your children while you are overseas. A court will then terminate those conservatorship rights as soon as you are back in the United States. Many folks in your position will ask for "makeup" time with the kids in order to fairly compensate you for the time with them that was lost due to your extended military service.

Courts are generally more sympathetic to the fluctuations in your income that are associated with military service as well. For instance, if you make it known to your court that your income has decreased for a temporary period of time due to your deployment or another related factor it is probable that the court would allow you to pay a lesser amount of child support temporarily.

Interested in learning more about the specifics of military service and divorce in Texas? Read tomorrow’s blog

Today’s blog post was intended as a means to introduce the subject of military divorce in Texas. In tomorrow’s blog post we will pick back up on this subject and discuss much more specific pieces of advice that will impact you and your family in significant ways. If that sounds interesting to you then I recommend that you return to our blog and see what it is what we have to say.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the material that we have covered today then 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 our office. We can address your concerns and answer your questions in a comfortable, pressure-free environment.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC- Texas Child Support Modification attorneys

If you are interested in learning more about modifying a prior child support order please contact the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. A consultation with one of our family law attorneys is free of charge and we are available to meet with you six days a week.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Texas Child Support Enforcement
  2. Can my Texas Driver's License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
  3. What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
  4. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  5. Texas Child Support Appeals
  6. In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
  7. Why Ignoring Child Support Obligations is a Bad Idea in Texas
  8. Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
  9. Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
  10. How to get above guideline child support.

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Kingwood Child Support Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child support, it's important to speak with ar Kingwood, TX Child SupportLawyer right away to protect your rights.

A child support lawyer in Kingwood TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact 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 Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, 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.

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