Child Support Lawyer Austin
In Texas, divorced parents are obligated to provide for their children and take care of their needs (financial and otherwise) until the children become self-sufficient. While the court has the discretion to order both parents to pay child support, it is the non-custodial parent – commonly referred to as the possessory conservator – who is required to pay child support in a vast majority of cases.
This is because the custodial parent – commonly referred to as the managing conservator – invests a considerable amount of time, effort, and resources to care for the children, take care of their day-to-day needs, and provide a stable and supporting environment for them. They are not required to provide extra support to the children financially in addition to what they already contribute.
Child support laws in Texas can be complicated for anyone to understand. To protect your rights as a custodial or non-custodial parent and to make sure your children’s needs are met, you need to have an experienced child support lawyer by your side.
The family law attorneys at Willie & Dasher have more than two decades of experience in handling divorce, child custody, child support, and other related cases. Our dedicated child support lawyer Eric M. Willie can represent you, advocate for you, and fight hard to achieve an outcome which is in the best interest of your children. Eric is also qualified to handle Austin LGBTQ divorce.
How Texas Child Support Determined
If you are the non-custodial parent, the amount of child support you need to pay will be determined based on your income.
In order to calculate your annual income, the court will take all your income sources into consideration, which might include:
- Your salary, overtime pay, and bonuses (if you have a job)
- Tips and commissions
- Income you earn from assignments or projects you work on or from your business (if you are self employed or run your own business)
- Interest, dividends, and capital gains from investments
- Rental income
- Royalty income
- Disability and workers’ compensation benefits
- Unemployment benefits
- Gifts you receive
- Prizes you win
- Social security benefits
Once your gross income (the total amount of income you earn) is calculated, the court will deduct the following expenses in order to calculate your net income.
- Federal and state income taxes
- Mandatory contributions to retirement accounts
- Union dues
- Health and dental insurance payments for your children
Once your net income is calculated, the court will order you to pay a portion of your income towards child support – depending on the number of children you have.
- One child – 20% of your net income
- Two children – 25% of your net income
- Three children – 30% of your net income
- Four children – 35% of your net income
- Five children – 40% of your net income
- Six children or more – a minimum of 40% of your net income (the upper limit will be determined by the court)
It should be noted that the aforementioned formula is only applicable if your monthly income is equal to or less than $9,200 a month.
If you make more than $9,200 a month, the court has the discretion to calculate your child support amount based on the aforementioned formula or increase it to make sure your children’s needs are met.
Child Support Calculations Can Be Complex
For instance, if you have one child and you make $30,000 per month, the court might order you to pay $2,300 (20% of $9,200) – assuming it is sufficient to cover your child’s monthly needs.
On the other hand, if your child’s monthly needs are $4,000 a month, and if the custodial parent does not have the means to provide for it, the court might order you to pay $4,000 a month.
Child support calculations can be complex and even the smallest mistake on your part in terms of reporting your income sources can not only increase your child support obligations, but also lead to the judge taking action against you. With that in mind, make sure you are represented by Eric M. Willie, a top-rated Austin, Texas child support lawyer and his legal team from Willie & Dasher. They can guide you through the process and get you the best outcome possible.
We will make sure the amount of child support you are ordered to pay is fair and appropriate. On the other hand, if you are the one seeking child support from your ex, we will use every rule in the book to ensure your rights are protected and you are awarded the child support you deserve.
Modification of TX Child Support Order
When the court determines the amount of child support to be paid by a parent, it does so on the presumption that the amount is fair and appropriate for all parties involved. However, the parents can request to have the order modified with the help of a Texas child support lawyer under the following circumstances.
- If it has been more than three years since the order was issued and the court-ordered amount differs by 20% or $100 from the amount that would be awarded if the child support guidelines were to be applied.
- If the circumstances under which the original order was issued have changed substantially and materially.
See this article for more information on how to negotiate child support.
The term “substantial and material change” might apply to the following situations.
- If there has been a substantial increase or reduction in the non-custodial parent’s income.
- If the non-custodial parent is legally obligated to take care of more children (apart from the ones they are already paying child support for).
- If the children no longer live with the custodial parent and are instead living with a different parent.
- If the medical insurance needs of the children have changed considerably.
There are two ways in which you can modify your child support order in Texas.
- If you and your ex-spouse are on the same page regarding the need for modification, you might be able to get the order modified through the child support review process.
- If you and your ex-spouse disagree with each other, you need to file a petition with the court with the help of your child custody lawyer and request the court to modify the order.
How Long Is a Parent Required to Pay Child Support in Texas?
Generally, a parent is obligated to pay child support until their children graduate from high school or reach the age of 18, whichever occurs later. However, in some cases, the court might order the parent to pay child support indefinitely.
For instance, if a child is physically or mentally disabled and might have to depend on a third-party for their day-to-day needs, the court might order the parent to pay child support for as long as it is needed.
Choose the Right Texas Child Support Lawyer Near You
If you have decided to file for divorce or need to modify your child support order, seasoned and high-achieving Austin, TX child support attorney Eric M. Willie can help you.
Eric M. Willie has over 20 years of experience and is capable of resolving complex family law issues through negotiation and litigation. Rated highly by his peers and clients, Eric M. Willie leads a team of highly skilled family law attorneys who are committed to fighting for your rights as a spouse and as a parent.
If you have any questions about child support in Texas or want to modify your child support order, call us today at 512-478-0834 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our Texas child support lawyers.
– A non-custodial parent (the parent with whom the children don’t live) is required to pay money to the custodial parent (the parent with whom the children live) for the support and maintenance of the children. The Texas Family Code requires the payment of child support until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later, marries or otherwise becomes emancipated, or dies. Courts may order child support to continue past the age of 18 for children who are attending college or a trade school. If a child is disabled, child support may be ordered to continue indefinitely.
Under Texas law, an award of child support is based on the net resources of the obligor (the parent required to pay child support). The following expenses are deducted from the obligor’s gross income to arrive at the net resources amount:
- social security taxes
- federal income tax based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one personal exemption and the standard deduction
- state income tax
- union dues
- expenses for the cost of health insurance or cash medical support for the obligor’s child ordered by the court
Once the court has determined the obligor’s net resources, an award of child support will be made based upon the statutory guidelines as illustrated in the following table:
Number of Children
Percentage of Net Resources
Not less than the amount for 5
Calculator For Child Support In Travis, Hays Or Williamson County TX
The above schedule is specifically designed to apply to situations where the obligor’s monthly net resources do not exceed $7500.00. However, if the obligor’s monthly net resources exceed $7500.00, the guidelines set forth in the table will be applied to that portion of the obligor’s net resources which do not exceed $7500.00. The court has the authority to order additional support over and above that required by the guidelines based upon the income of the parties and the proven needs of the child.
If the obligor is required to pay support for more than one child of the same marriage, the child support order must contain a provision for the automatic partial termination of support once each child reaches the age of 18 or otherwise becomes emancipated. The level of support for the remaining child or children must be in compliance with the child support guidelines.
If the obligor is required to support children in more than one household, courts are required to calculate child support using a very specific set of criteria. The court will use the percentage guidelines set forth above and will also make the following computations:
- determine the amount of child support that would be ordered if all children whom the obligor has the legal duty to support lived in one household;
- compute a child support credit for the obligor’s children who are not before the court by dividing the amount required to support all children whom the obligor has a legal duty to support by the total number of children whom the obligor is obligated to support and multiplying that number by the number of the obligor’s children who are not before the court;
- determine the adjusted net resources of the obligor by subtracting the child support credit from the net resources of the obligor;
- determine the child support amount for the children before the court by applying the percentage guidelines for one household for the number of children of the obligor before the court to the obligor’s adjusted net resources
In determining the child support credit, the court will consider all children whom the obligor is legally required to support regardless of with whom those children live. Moreover, the fact that the obligor may be delinquent on a court ordered support obligation is irrelevant in computing the child support credit.
Besides the income or net resources of the non-custodial parent, the Texas Code authorizes the courts to adjust an order of support upward or downward based on a number of other factors. These factors include:
- Age of the child and the child’s needs and special expenses
- Child care expenses
- Other child support expenses and care
- Any current alimony expenses
- Medical and health care expenses and insurance
- Educational expenses, including college
- Employer benefits
- Debts or other financial obligations of the parents
- Wage deductions
- Travel costs associated with child visitation
- Income or expenses relating to the assets of the parents
- Automobile, mortgage or lease payments
In situations where the parties share joint custody of the children, child support may be modified based upon the particular circumstances of the parties and the terms of the custody agreement.
Texas courts have the jurisdiction to enter orders for retroactive child support. In order to receive retroactive child support, the requesting party must initiate a suit seeking such support within four years of the child’s eighteenth birthday. In considering a request for retroactive child support, a court will consider the following:
- whether the mother of the child has made any previous attempts to notify the obligor of his paternity or probable paternity
- whether the obligor had knowledge of his paternity or probable paternity
- whether the order of retroactive child support will impose an undue financial hardship on the obligor or the obligor’s family
- whether the obligor has provided actual support or other necessaries before the filing of the action.
Courts are required to order that any health insurance coverage in effect for a child at the time a complaint for divorce is filed continue until the divorce is made final. This means that whichever spouse is providing health insurance for a child, must continue to do so unless otherwise ordered by the court. The only time that a court will waive this requirement is upon a showing of good cause. In other words, a party must give the court a good reason why, such as undue financial hardship, the coverage should not continue before this requirement can be waived.
Medical support which an obligor must pay is in addition to child support. So, if the obligee (the person to whom child support is paid) is ordered to maintain health insurance, the total amount of support paid by the obligor will be increased by the amount of the health insurance premium for the child.
Modifications Of Child Support Orders
Finally, in some cases it is appropriate or desirable to modify an existing order related to the amount paid. Contact us to learn more about how this can help.