Child Support Attorney Consultation In Houston TX
If you are wondering and have questions about how a lawyer can help with your child support situation, you are in the right place.
At Daniel Ogbeide Law our attorneys can help you with child support issues, including establishing, enforcing, and changing child support payments. Children have a fundamental right to receive child support, which is commonly based on a formula that factors both parents’ incomes and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.
Courts take child support allowances seriously, and a parent’s failure to pay a child support obligation can result in harsh effects. For example, if you stop paying child support or pay less than what your court order requires, a judge could slash your wages, take your driver’s license or professional license, or even order you to spend time in jail. So, when a court orders you to pay child support, you need to pay it unless you can show a very compelling reason not to.
Our team consists of attorneys experienced in child-related issues such as custody, visitation, and support. Child support modifications usually require a court hearing in front of a judge. Our attorney can help you prepare for the hearing, gather crucial evidence, and present your case to the court. If you want to know more about our services, reach out to our team today!
What You Need To Know About Child Support In Texas
Reading this article will help you learn:
- Who is responsible for paying child support, and how much that person would need to pay.
- Whether your child can choose which parent they want to live with.
- In which circumstances neither parent is required to pay child support.
How Do Courts Determine Child Support In Texas?
If you are a parent who is going through a divorce in Texas, you are likely worried about your children and their future. You probably have many questions about child support and child custody.
Child support is determined by considering the best interests of the child or children. Any decisions made regarding kids must have their best interests in mind.
The court may presume that it is in the best interest of the child to live with a certain parent. They may decide it is best for the non-custodial parent, meaning the parent who has the weekend or summer visitation, to pay child support to the parent with whom the child lives.
The non-custodial parent pays child support out of their net resources, which is neither the parent’s gross income nor their net income. It is their gross income minus federal taxes, social security, Medicaid, and some medical insurances. Whatever is left, they calculate a percentage from that amount.
For one kid, the amount of child support is 20% of that parent’s net resources. For each additional child, you add 5%. So, for two children it would be 25%, and for three it is 30%, and so on.
The cutoff point is when child support reaches 50% of the parent’s income. The judges do not continue to increase it at this level in order to keep the person from going bankrupt.
Can A Child Choose Who To Live With?
A child cannot exactly choose who they will live with, but they can express their preference of who they want to live with. The judge will do everything possible to grant the child’s preference. However, if it is not in the best interest of the child, then the judge will not allow the request.
For example, if a child chooses a parent who does not care whether or not they go to school, does not enforce discipline, or does not encourage their child to do their homework, these are not in the best interests of the child.
Similarly, if the child is failing school, or the parent allows them to go to parties and engage in underage drinking, the judge is not going to agree to let the child live with this parent. If they already live with them, the court is going to conclude that it is not in the best interest of the child to continue to live with that parent.
In summary, a child can inform the judge of their desire to live with a certain parent, but ultimately, the judge will decide based on the evidence as to what is in the best interest of the child.
Who Pays Child Support When Parents Are Divorced Or Are Not Raising A Child Together In Texas?
When parents get divorced, the judge will determine which parent is the custodial parent and which is the non-custodial parent.
The custodial parent is the parent that the child lives with, while the non-custodial parent is the visiting parent. The non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent.
Do I Still Have To Pay Child Support If I Have 50/50 Custody?
Even if you have 50/50 custody of your child, one parent will usually still pay child support.
One thing to understand is that there is no such thing as 50/50 custody in the state of Texas because it is not in the family code. The only way you get equal custody is to attend mediation or reach an agreement with the other parent to share custody equally.
Even if you reach 50/50 custody, child support is a different animal that is unrelated to custody, at least as far as the court is concerned. Child support is all about the financial support of the child.
The income of the parents would be relevant if they have 50/50 custody. For example, if the mother is making $5,000 per month, 20% of her child support would be $1,000. The father may be making $2,500, so 20% of that would be $500.
With 50/50 custody, they take the difference between the $1000 that mom would pay and the $500 that dad would pay. In this case, the difference is $500, and that difference would go to the father since he is the one making less money.
When you have a 50/50 custody scenario, you calculate the difference between 20% of your income and the other parent’s income, and the difference goes to the parent who makes less. However, if the parents attend mediation, they can agree to whatever amount they want.
Can My Spouse And I Agree That Neither Party Will Pay Child Support?
Both parents paying zero dollars in child support can only occur in mediation…
If the two parties agree on their own without mediation, they can submit the order for the judge to sign. However, 90% of the time, the judge is not going to sign it. This is because the court presumes it is in the best interest of the child for the non-custodial parent to pay child support.
If someone is not paying child support, this is going against the presumption, according to the judge. However, the law also says that if parents reach an agreement in mediation, that agreement is binding.
Thus, mediation is the keyword. If you don’t want to pay child support or you want to do 50/50 custody, it is necessary that you attend mediation.
Does That Mean You Contribute Whatever You Have As A Couple To Raising Your Child?
If you have agreed that neither parent will pay child support, then the alternative is that each parent will take care of the children during their possession time. This is especially true when you have equal custody, meaning that your child comes to you every other week.
You are responsible for feeding them that week, getting them to school that week, and any other childcare or after-school expenses you may incur. Then, while the kids are with the other parent, they are responsible for the children that week.
This is the standard agreement, but some parents will also write in additional terms. The code already states that all medical expenses not covered by insurance will be split equally by the parents. For anything else, the parents must create an agreement.
When Do I Start Paying Child Support In Texas?
Child support in Texas is an obligation for which you do not even need a court order. The moment a child is born, if the non-custodial parent is not residing in the same house with the custodial parent, they must pay child support. This is a legal requirement.
This is why in Texas we have retroactive child support. If the non-custodial parent has not supported the child in any way in the past four years, for example, the other parent can file a petition even years later.
The judge can determine how much you would have paid in the four years – and that’s how much you now owe. Some people go to court and all of a sudden, they owe back payments.
Their child support moving forward might be $500 per month, but they may also owe $30,000 for not making payments over the past four years.
Child support starts as soon as the child is born. However, if you were informally supporting your child, then child support starts whenever the court order is put into place, which is whenever the judge makes that pronouncement.
For example, if we were to go to court today, a judge would pronounce that child support starts on the 1st of next month. Even if you go to court on the 29th of the month, your payments will begin on the first of the next month. This usually allows the parent a little more time to gather up some money before they have to make their first payment.
For more information on Child Support Awards In A Texas Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (832) 345-1988 today. We have the best child support lawyers in houston ready to work with you.
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