If you are facing child support issues in Houston, Texas, Longino Law is here to help.
In Texas, it is presumed that all parents who do not have physical custody of a child should pay child support for a child under 18 or who has not yet graduated high school. Persons with child support obligations are known as "obligors." The obligor is responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent (the "obligee"). Child support covers basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, medical expenses, and educational costs. The below will provide information to better understand your child support case.
Chapter 154 of the Texas Family Code provides the laws for support generally, and Subchapter C addresses the guidelines. The obligor's net resources are used to calculate the support obligation. The Texas Office of the Attorney General publishes an annual tax chart to determine net resources. Once the net resources are determined, a calculation using statutory percentages is run to determine the obligation. There are different calculations for low-income earners and for cases involving other children the obligor has a duty to support.
There are two options for getting an order for support: the Child Support Division of the Texas Office of the Attorney General might help, or you can file a lawsuit yourself. Once parentage is established, or there is a legal presumption of parentage, a parent can petition the court to order the noncustodial parent to pay support.
The State Disbursement Unit (SDU) collects and distributes child support payments. Income withholding is used to ensure that the child support payment is deducted from a noncustodial parent's paycheck. Alternatively, the non-custodial parent may make a direct payment to the SDU or the custodial parent. It is important to check the terms of the order to ensure that the payment is made correctly.
The court can deviate from the guidelines if certain circumstances are present, such as special medical or educational needs of the child, and the resources available to the obligor. The court will look at the actual needs and both parent's ability to share in those costs to determine whether a deviation is appropriate, and how to allocate those additional costs.
Child support can be modified in Texas if there has been a "material and substantial change in the circumstances" of either parent or the child since the order for support was entered, or if it has been at least three years and the amount of support would change by at least $100 or 20% since the last order. Changes in income, job status, health insurance coverage, or any change that affects the time either parent spends with the child, may be grounds for a modification.
Navigating child support laws in Texas can be confusing. If you are facing child support issues, it is recommended to seek legal guidance from an experienced child support lawyer. Longino Law can provide legal guidance on Texas child support laws and help you navigate the process to achieve the best possible outcome.
Longino Law was founded by Tristan H. Longino, a Harris County Family District Court judge who is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. The firm has extensive experience in handling child support cases and can provide the legal assistance you need to protect your rights and the best interests of your child. Contact Longino Law today for a consultation with our Houston child support attorneys.
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