Child custody and child support are independent issues. While the court considers personal attributes like maturity and responsibility in determining child custody, it renders decisions on child support based almost entirely on financial calculations and the Texas child support guidelines. Still, parties to a divorce can easily make mistakes in presenting income information and estimating expenses to a court. These mistakes can prove costly in your case. Bradford L. Atkinson is experienced and focused when it comes to getting your child support order right the first time. Clients also rely on him to modify previous child support orders when financial circumstances change.
The Texas child support guidelines are straightforward. The law requires a noncustodial parent to pay 20 percent of his or her income for support of the first child, and an additional five percent for each additional child up to the fifth. The person ordered to pay child support receives certain statutory deductions from their gross income prior to the percentage being applied to their net income. The parent is obligated to pay for a child until the child turns 18 or completes high school, whichever occurs later. There are circumstances in which child support can be ordered paid past the age of eighteen (18) or graduation of high school, whichever occurs later. Through automatic wage garnishment, or a Wage Withholding Order, the State provides for prompt, reliable delivery of funds to the receiving parent.
While Texas law doesn’t allow you to stop paying child support because the other parent is interfering with child visitation or another aspect of your court order, it does allow you to petition the court for a modification of your current order when circumstances change. Bradford L. Atkinson routinely advises clients on the importance of advocating for their rights in court rather than violating their obligations under the current order that may lead to expensive legal fees and/or jail time.
Texas requires that parents provide medical coverage for their children. Commonly, health insurance is available or is in effect for the child or children through a parent’s employment or membership in a union, trade association, or other organization at a reasonable cost. As such, the insurance coverage comes from that parent, with the other parent typically being ordered to contribute to the monthly cost of such coverage. In other cases, health insurance is not available to either parent and other options must be considered.
Sometimes, a parent loses a job or has a significant change to their financial status and may not be able to uphold the terms of a current child support or medical support obligation. It is important that you petition the court as soon as possible for a modification of your court order if you can no longer afford your current obligations. Family lawyer Bradford L. Atkinson can help you obtain a post-divorce modification of your child support arrangement. Delaying the filing of a modification suit can be costly and possibly lead to jail as a result of not paying support as ordered.
To get an accurate assessment of child support calculations specific to your own circumstances, please complete the contact information on this page to schedule a consultation with Mr. Atkinson or call 936-230-5462.