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Child Support Archives

Changing or contesting a Texas child support order

Many Texas families find that they need to seek changes to a child support order. A non-custodial parent may have to take a lower-paying job than they had when a family court judge first made the order, leaving them in need of lower child support payments. A child may begin attending a private school or experience another change that increases their living expenses. There is a variety of reasons why parents may seek a child support change.

How child support is established in Texas

In order to make child support orders more uniform throughout the state, statutory guidelines are used by Texas courts in determining child support amounts. Judges are able to deviate from the guidelines if doing so is in the best interests of the child, but in such an event, the court has to detail its reasons in a written ruling.

Does an inmate still have to pay child support?

Parents who are incarcerated in Texas may still receive child support or be ordered to pay child support even while in jail. During the time that a parent who owes support is in prison, he or she will receive monthly statements detailing how much back support may be owed. Those who are incarcerated are urged to provide any support payments possible while in state custody.

Important concerns for noncustodial parents in Texas

Although a parent may not have the primary care and custody of a child, there are important rights to consider. The philosophy of the Office of the Attorney General is that children are better able to thrive when they are afforded the support and love of both of their parents. While the custodial parent typically makes decisions about day-to-day care and living issues, a noncustodial parent is afforded in most cases the legal right to information about a child's location and to spend time with that child.

Texas child support orders

In Texas, courts consider a number of factors when determining the appropriate amount of child support to be ordered. Generally, the custodial parent is normally owed child support payments from the non-custodial parent.

Child support codes in Texas

Parents in Texas may benefit from reviewing the state's family code provisions regarding court-ordered child support. According to state law, one or both parents may be ordered to pay child support until the child either graduates high school or turns 18 years of age. Child support may also be terminated if the child is emancipated through marriage or if their death occurs. If the child suffers from a disability, child support may last indefinitely.

Is health insurance included in the child support payment?

A custodial parent in Texas may be concerned with health coverage in addition to financial support. It is helpful to note that under the state's laws, both parents are responsible for the entire cost of medical treatment, meaning that a physician or medical center may be able to seek payment from either parent regardless of child support arrangements or other custody issues. Although the court might dictate the responsibility of one parent or another for medical expenses, this won't affect the right of the provider to attempt to collect from either or both parents. Even the state's Medicaid agency might be able to seek reimbursement from either parent.

The formula for calculating child support

Under Texas law, the courts use a mathematical formula to determine how much child support noncustodial parents owe to custodial parents for the care of their children. The payments are generally a percentage of the noncustodial parent's income, and it also depends on the number of children for whom the person is paying child support. If noncustodial parents are paying child support for other children, this also influences the final monthly support amount.

Child support makes a difference in the new school year

As Texas families begin a fresh school year, it is important for those who are responsible for paying child support to understand the impact they have on a child's academic progress. Basic needs of a child such as back-to-school clothing, food, health care and other services and materials are important, and children depend on the adults in their lives to provide these things. State reports indicate that when child support is paid, children tend to perform better academically. They also tend to stay in school more consistently and experience fewer behavior issues. Studies also note that those parents who pay support tend to be more involved in the lives of their children. Self-confidence and self-control are more frequently demonstrated by children who are well-supported, and risky behaviors are typically minimized. State agencies recognize the challenges parents can face when support is an issue, and there are services provided by the Texas Attorney General's Child Support Division to assist. These may include needs such as establishing paternity or locating a parent. The may also address amounts of support and collection of funds. The division encourages parents who owe support to catch up on payments, reminding them that the funds are needed and can make a difference. The agency also emphasizes the importance of timeliness in making such payments. A parent dealing with a shortfall in the budget due to missed support payments may find that legal assistance is provided through government agencies as well. In a case involving discrepancies between a non-custodial parent's income and the support provided to a child, the assistance of a lawyer may be helpful. This may ensure that careful attention is given to details such as the other parent's resources and assets. Because the government division addresses numerous support situations, a lawyer may ensure that the case is dealt with thoroughly in the face of a court system with a heavy case load.