What exactly does child support in Texas encompass and how is it determined in this state? This is one of the most common questions we get when we meet with clients on family law matters at Puhl Law Group, PC. Child support is the money that a parent pays to the other parent to help support their child(ren). All parents have a legal duty to support their children. The non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent child support.
How is child support in Texas determined?
Child support in Texas is based on your pay after taxes, or net income and the Texas Child support guidelines. 20% of net income - for one child 25% of net income - for two children 30% of net income -for three children 35% of net income -for four children 40% of net income -for five or more If a parent thinks the amount is too high or too low, they can ask for the court to make an adjustment. The court may ask for additional support but it can't be greater than, "the proven needs of the child." When figuring out child support, the maximum amount from which percentages may be determined are based on the number of children for high earners is $8,550 as of now. The Attorney General of Texas has a helpful child support calculator here.
How do I pay child support?
Parents can agree on making a direct payment to one another. However, in Texas, there is an income withholding order (IWO) in which the paying parent's employer withholds the child support amount from the parent's paycheck and sends it straight to the state child support enforcement agency. The benefit of having it go through an agency is that there is a clear record of payment or non-payment. This can be helpful if a parent needs to take action in court to be paid.
How long must a parent pay child support in Texas?
The noncustodial parent is required by law to pay child support until the later to occur of when to the child is reaches the age of 18 or the child's graduation from high school, if the child is enrolled and attending regularly. If a child is mentally or physically disabled, a court can order support indefinitely. Child support can end if the child enlists in the military, gets married, or legally emancipates themselves.
What if my ex won't let me see the kids? Do I have to still pay child support?
The law is clear that even if the parent is denying you visitation, you still need to pay your child support. You can be held in contempt of court for failure to pay. Working out child support is an important part of a divorce agreement for both sides and the children. It's best to work with a family lawyer that specializes in divorce and child support. Michael Puhl of Puhl Law Group, P.C. is a board certified family law lawyer. He was recently selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list. Call 972-569-3166 for an appointment and learn more about child support options.