When going through or preparing for a divorce, or if you’re unmarried but legally the father or mother, child support is one of the most important factors when contributing to the child’s well-being and future. However, child support is often a very complex and sensitive matter, and there is a lot of potential for legal complications. From an ex not paying child support to pushing to modify the amount of child support you’ll give every month, it is critical to have an experienced and compassionate Mansfield-Fort Worth child support attorney at your side.
At the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart, we’ve served the Mansfield-Fort Worth area for years, and we’ve helped hundreds of individuals get through their child support issues. We boast a wide network of resources, comprehensive knowledge of Texas laws and the Texas Family Code, and we are prepared to work with you, one-on-one, to fight for a solution. To speak with attorney Wendy Hart, call our Mansfield-Fort Worth family law office today at (817) 842-2336.
Child Support Law in Texas
Child support laws are governed by the guidelines set out in the Texas Family Code. According to this Code, there are many different factors that courts will examine when determining how much child support that a parent must pay. Some of these factors include:
- The income of both parents (including bonuses)
- The income derived from businesses owned by either parent
- The number of children in the family
- Cost of daycare and other living expenses
- Cost of health insurance
Keep in mind that this is a very limited list of factors when determining child support. In many instances, there are unique circumstances that need to be accounted for, such as unusual needs of the child as well as the ability of the parent to pay more (or less).
It is also important to note that the Obligee’s (the person receiving child support) income doesn’t affect how much the Obligor (the personal paying child support) has to pay. Instead, Texas law considers each parent’s obligation to support their children independently of the other parent’s income. Both parents have an obligation to support their children, and children have the right to be supported by both parents.
Behind in Child Support Payments?
According to the Texas Attorney General, if the non-custodial parent (the parent who doesn’t have primary custody over the child) doesn’t pay his/her child support, or is behind on payments, he/she may be subject to enforcement measures. In most cases, this sounds scarier than it actually is. For instance, the Child Support Division uses a variety of techniques to enforce child support, including:
- Requiring employers to deduct court-ordered child support
- Intercepting federal and state tax refund checks, lottery winnings, or other money from state and federal sources
- Filing liens against his/her property and assets
- Suspending his/her driver’s license, professional license, or even hunting and fishing license
- Filing a lawsuit asking the court to enforce its order
If the non-payments continue, then the acting judge may sentence the individual to jail and enter a judgement for past due child support.
Child Support Modification
Another important topic is child support modification. Fortunately, child support orders can be modified through court hearings or through the child support review process. Basically, any time there is a change in income, number of children, or possession of the children, a modification may be warranted. Typically, under a Texas order, child support is not automatically modified when a change occurs, but rather a suit for modification must be filed.
Additionally, parents can modify child support if it has been three years or more since the order was established (or last modified) and the monthly amount of the child support ordered differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would be awarded according to the child support guidelines.
Fort Worth Family Law Attorney to Protect Your Rights
Child support is often a very emotional, difficult topic, and whether calculating or modifying child support, it is critical to contact leading Mansfield-Fort Worth child support attorney Wendy L. Hart. Having worked for the Attorney General’s Office in the child support division, attorney Hart is very familiar with all the intricacies of child support. Contact our family law firm today at (817) 842-2336.