While fathers may be ordered to pay children, mothers may question just how much they are supposed to be settling in child support. If you have been through the Texas family law courts fighting for help for your children, you will be familiar with how the process works.
If you have not, it is essential to know that without an order that mandates child support payment, either pay is not obligated to make child support payments. If you have no charges in place but are in need, your beginning starts in a Texas family law court.
Once a judge has ordered a parent to provide child support, there is not much that can be done to deviate from this order. Some parents may question the amount of child support they have been ordered to pay, but you should know that amount was not picked up randomly.
To begin, you will need to understand why child support is ordered, what it covers, and who will be awarded the child support in your Texas family law case.
Who Pays Child Support & What Is It For?
The noncustodial parent, or the parent who does not have custody of the child the majority of the time, is the parent who is responsible for paying child support. They are known as “obligors,” meaning they are legally bound to the custodial parent to pay for child support. The custodial parent is the parent who has custody of the child the majority of the time.
If you have been ordered to pay child support, you should know it was collected for the child’s best interest. In Texas, we use the “Best Interest of the Child” standard to determine what conservatorship, possession and access, and child support should be ordered.
Your child support payments are paid to support the necessities of your child’s life. These include shelter, clothing, and food. Although all your child support will cover other nonessential, necessary expenses can include uninsured medical costs, educational fees, or extracurricular expenses. As custodial parents receiving child support, they will likely work to make all of these expenses work within what they are receiving in child support and their equal contributions to the child’s resources.
Texas Child Support Guidelines
As it is with every state, Texas has its rigid statutory guidelines to calculate how much child support a parent should be paying. There are only guidelines, and every case has different circumstances and factors to consider when ordering child support. That being said, a judge can always order below or above guideline child support depending on the situation. The parties themselves can also agree upon an amount deviating from the guidelines.
Payments are calculated as a percentage of the obligor’s monthly net income up to the first $9,200 per month of that income. This maximum net income was changed in September 2019 and will be altered every six years as the economy changes. The monthly net income is calculated by taking the obligor’s monthly gross income and subtracting all deductions. These deductions can include federal income taxes, union dues, medicare and social security taxes, and insurance premiums.
After you have calculated your net monthly income depending on how many children you have, how much of your net monthly payment will go as child support. A breakdown of the rates per child are as follows:
Number of Children
If you have over four children, it will be calculated at %40 of your net monthly income.
What If I Don’t Have A Job?
Most parents believe that if they don’t have a job, they will have no obligation to pay child support, but this could not be false. The Texas Family Code Section 154.068 states that a parent with no net resources can represent income equal to the minimum wage for a standard 40-hour workweek.
What If I Decide Not to Pay My Child Support?
If you violate your child support order, the custodial parent can proceed through any child support enforcement options. These enforcements can include fines, jail time, or garnishment of wages. However, to avoid the occurring of child support payments not being paid, there are options to help ensure that the court orders are followed, and they include:
- Withholding Wages- the parent’s employer is noticed to automatically withhold the parent’s child support amounts from their wages. That money is then sent to the child support office, which will then disburse that money to the custodial parent.
- Contempt- A violating parent can be held in contempt, which means being placed in jail and on community supervision for up to 5 years. The parent can also be ordered to pay the attorney fees incurred from the enforcement action.
- Money Judgements- The amount of unpaid child support can be reduced to many judgments that accumulate interest.
- License Suspension- If you fail to pay child support for more than 90 days, the courts can order the suspension of any license you have.
How Can I Get My Child Support Amount Changed?
If there are significant changes in circumstance that have hindered your ability to pay your child support, such as a loss of a job, you may be eligible for a child support modification. In this modification, a family law judge will evaluate and consider these circumstances that may warrant a reduction in your child support. Any changes in child support payments that a judge has not ordered could land you in a bit of trouble. Therefore, all legalities surrounding your children should be handled in a court of law.
In summary, child support is ordered because it is in the best interest of your child. Your payments will help give your child a stable childhood. Now that you understand how your child support will be calculated, you will not second guess that your prices are for the benefit of your child.
If you still have questions about your child support or need help clarifying what your child support order means, please do not hesitate to contact our office to set up your FREE 30-minute consultation. Our expert attorneys will be glad to serve you and help you with all your family law matters. Thank you for reading into today’s blog.