Failure To Pay Child Support in Texas
In Hunt County Texas, on April of 2018 Sheriff Randy Meeks and his department arrested 16 parents who violated court orders requiring them to pay child support. Attorney General, Ken Paxton, commended the Sheriff and his team for holding accountable those who attempt to evade child support. This clearly shows that a spouse that fails to provide child support payments may be found in contempt of court leading to serious legal consequences.
During a divorce process, settling custodial and support obligations for children of the separated spouses is important to ensure that the spouses honor certain responsibilities. Honoring those responsibilities protects the children from getting hurt. A child support lawyer may be able to explain how the state’s laws apply to your specific situation.
Understanding Child Support in Texas
A court could order both parents to support a child but it is often the non-custodial parent that pays child support. The non-custodial parent is usually the parent that spends the least amount of time with the child. The amount of time a parent spends with a child is called physical child custody.
A percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income is what the child support payments is based on. The state of Texas has child support guidelines that can help you calculate or estimate your child support payments. The law allows parents to pay more than the guideline amount but they cannot agree between themselves to pay less.
Using the Guidelines to Determine Child Support
Your net income and the state child support guidelines are used as a basis for a child support order. Net income means the amount of money you are paid after taxes. The guidelines used to calculate the money owed to the custodial parents are:
- For one child 20 percent of the noncustodial parent’s income is paid
- For two children 25 percent is paid
- For three children 30 percent is paid
- 35 percent is paid for 4 children
- For five children 40 percent is paid
You may use the guidelines to estimate payments but the court still has to approve the payments. In case the result given by the guidelines is unfair to one of the parents, a court may review a set of factors and may adjust the amount of support either up or down. The factors the court may review include:
- Debts and financial resources
- The age and needs of the child
- Alimony payments
- The provision of health insurance
- The time the child spends with each parent
- Child care expenses
- cost of child travel between parents and more
It may seem like the parent that is not required to pay child support is off the hook. But the reality is the law assumes that the custodial parent is automatically paying child support through the daily cost of raising the child. If a parent is having financial difficulties paying child support, contacting the Child Support Division office to request for a modification is the best option. But the parent will need proper documentation for such a request to be considered valid.
Attorney Daryl Longworth is a family law attorney licensed by the State Bar of Texas. He is the senior attorney at The Longworth Law Firm in Houston, Texas. Mr. Longworth is a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center. Prior to becoming a licensed attorney focusing on divorce law and family law in Texas, Mr. Longworth was a police officer for the Houston Police Department.