Handling Child Support Responsibly to Protect You and Your Child
Texas law requires that the “non-custodial” parent (i.e., the parent whose home is not the child’s primary residence) pay child support. Most people have a vague idea of how child support works, but there are a few important points to remember:
1. Child Support Does Not Necessarily End at Age 18
In Texas, the parent paying child support will generally continue to do so until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens later. If the child is disabled, however, support payments extend beyond those points.
2. Child Support Can Be Modified
Texas has a formula for calculating the minimum child support obligation. Courts may vary from the formula by taking into account certain factors including: the financial resources of each parent; whether the parent to pay support has other children to support also; whether the parent receiving support is deliberately unemployed or underemployed; the cost of travel by the noncustodial parent to pick up the child for visitation; how much time each parent gets with the child; and the expenses necessary to send the child to college, if that is planned. Furthermore, the amount originally ordered may be changed later. For example, if the parent paying child support loses his or her job, or if the parent who receives the child support requires more money to care for the child, modifications may be necessary.
3. Keep the Texas Attorney General in the Loop
The attorney general’s office controls and monitors all child support in Texas. Sometimes parents attempt to keep an informal and unofficial child support payment schedule, but this is not a good idea. Even if you and your child’s other parent were never married, you must go through the attorney general’s office for child support plans. Any payments that you make that are not documented by the attorney general’s office for all intents and purposes DID NOT happen. You do not want to become liable for back child support that you actually paid but which did not go through the AG’s office.
4. Failure to Pay Child Support Comes with Consequences
The State of Texas takes child support obligations very seriously and allows enforcement measures that may seem harsh at first blush. If you fail to pay child support, your checking account(s) may be garnished, any license you hold — whether it is a driver’s license, a professional license, a hunting or fishing license — can be suspended, your federal income tax refund can be taken and you can put in jail for contempt of court.
Arlington, Texas Child Support Lawyers
If you need legal advice regarding child support, contact our law firm at 817-275-4100. Our Arlington child support lawyers are ready to help.
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