Do You Need an Attorney for Child Support in Texas?
Family law in Texas is a complex topic, and child support law is one of the most pivotal areas of the law. While Texas has guidelines and procedures for child support in place, the nuances can be overwhelming for those without legal experience. Here are some reasons why you need an attorney to handle your Dallas child support issue:
- Understanding Texas Child Support Guidelines: Texas has specific rules and formulas for determining child support amounts. An attorney can help you understand these guidelines, ensuring the determined amount is fair and in the child’s best interest.
- Modification of Existing Orders: Life is unpredictable. Changes in income, health, or other circumstances may make it necessary to modify an existing child support order. An attorney can guide you through the steps and paperwork to alter the order, advocating for a modified arrangement that reflects your current situation.
- Ensuring Proper Enforcement: If the other party isn’t complying with a child support order, an attorney can help you enforce it. They can assist with garnishing wages, intercepting tax refunds, or even pursuing contempt charges against a non-compliant parent.
- Protecting Your Rights: In any legal dispute, it’s paramount to have someone on your side who understands your rights and obligations. With an attorney’s guidance, you can ensure you’re neither overpaying nor receiving less than what’s due.
- Navigating Complex Situations: If your child has special needs or there are other complexities like shared custody from multiple partners, having an attorney can be particularly essential. They can help navigate these complex issues, ensuring the support arrangement considers every unique aspect.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution: Given Kris Balekian Hayes’ credentials as a mediator, our firm believes in resolving disputes without the emotional and financial toll of extended court battles. An attorney can often help parties find common ground through mediation or collaborative law, ensuring a smoother, more amicable resolution.
How Much Is Child Support in Texas?
When determining how much a parent without custody will pay in child support, Texas judges have a straightforward objective: to safeguard the child’s or children’s well-being and future. While parents can collaborate and propose an amount they deem appropriate for child support, the final decision rests with the presiding judge. The Texas Family Code sets a baseline formula to determine how much the paying spouse owes, based on their net resources. The breakdown is as follows:
- One child – 20 percent of the paying spouse’s net resources
- Two children – 25 percent of the paying spouse’s net resources
- Three children – 30 percent of the paying spouse’s net resources
- Four children – 35 percent of the paying spouse’s net resources
- Five children – 40 percent of the paying spouse’s net resources
- Six or more children – No less than the amount for five children
Determining the Paying Spouse’s “Net Resources”
The term “net resources” encompasses more than just the paying spouse’s monthly income. In their analysis, a judge may consider:
- Union dues
- Health and dental insurance premiums
- Medical expenses the court has ordered the payor to pay
- Social Security taxes
- Mandatory retirement plan contributions
- State and federal income taxes
Is There a Max Child Support Amount in Texas?
The current cap on the maximum monthly resources used to calculate child support payments is $9,200 per month. So, a parent paying child support with at least that much in net resources per month will pay a maximum of $1,840 for one child. That said, there are some important caveats to understand.
First, the Texas Family Code contains provisions specifying that the cap on monthly net resources shall change every six years, depending on inflation and other factors. (The last change occurred in 2019.)
Second, judges can exceed this cap when the paying parent has significant financial resources. A child support attorney can provide a more thorough estimate of how much you might have to pay to your former spouse.
How Long Do Child Support Payments Last?
Child support payments usually continue until a child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever comes first. Payments may continue in certain circumstances, depending on the child’s needs and other factors.
How Do You Modify a Child Support Order?
To legally modify a child support order in Texas, you must petition the courts. Even with mutual agreement between the parents, a judge must approve the change. Without the judge’s OK, the spouse making payments could face legal repercussions if they change the payment amount.
For the court to consider a modification, the requesting party must demonstrate a “material and substantial” change in the child’s circumstances or those of another party involved. Alternatively, if three or more years have elapsed and there’s a variation in the monthly support by either 20 percent or $100, you can seek a modification.
Contact a Dallas Child Support Attorney Now
Ensuring your child’s welfare and future is paramount after a divorce, and understanding Texas’s complex laws can be challenging. With complicated statutes to unravel, percentages to calculate, and modifications to consider, having a dedicated attorney by your side is critical to securing a fair and appropriate child support arrangement.
With its extensive experience and commitment to Texas families, Balekian Hayes, PLLC, is here to provide the clarity and guidance you need. Call (214) 828-2800 or complete our contact form for a confidential consultation.