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Filing For Child Support In The State Of Texas

Child support in the state of Texas is paid by the Noncustodial parent. A noncustodial parent is defined as the parent who spends the least amount of time with the child, also referred to in legal documents as the “obligor”

Why filing child support should be done

When parents separate, the issue of child support is one of the first issues that need to be addressed. Filing for child support can be a hot-button issue for many men, who are apprehensive about the legalities surrounding it. But there are many times when the smartest decision is for either party to immediately file for child support following a separation (yes, a non-custodial parent can file child support on themselves!)

  • Legal protections – If the custodial parent experiences financial or health problems that cause them to seek assistance from state services, then the governmental body in question will automatically seek an order of support from the noncustodial parent if there is not already one in place. If this is the case, the noncustodial parent will be responsible for retroactive support and will not receive credit for any previous payments as they were part of an informal agreement not recognized by the courts.
  • Stability – With a child support order in place, independent of the parents daily interactions), there is a certain relief granted. What this means is that the custodial parent is relieved of the task of seeking an amount from the noncustodial parent. In turn, the noncustodial parent is relieved of the oft-emotionally taxing prospect of this fiscal request from a former partner. The end result is that both parties are granted a form of relief that can allow their focus to be directed towards the emotional and mental well-being of their shared children.

How is the amount of child support determined?

The exact amount of child support paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent is calculated from the noncustodial parent’s income. There is a fee schedule set forth by the Texas child support guidelines that can help determine what the amount is.

Whatever the amount is determined to be, these payments are to be made monthly by the obligor, or they fall into arrears. Child support is paid to the obligee (the custodial parent) on the court’s assumption that the custodial parent will spend it on what the child may need. In summary, the custodial parent is assumed to pay their share of child support through the daily costs incurred by raising the child.

Once the order for support has been established by the court, the noncustodial parent is welcome to pay more than the set amount, but not less. This is even if the parents agree between themselves to pay a lesser sum.

Can the amount of support be challenged?

As a general rule, the court will make the assumption that the amount set forth by the guidelines is fair. There are select circumstances where the court may evaluate the order and decide that the amount given is unfair and does not serve a child’s best interests. If the court is asked to adjust the amount of child support, they will assess the relevant factors, particularly the following:

  • The ability of the parent to support the child
  • The age of the child
  • The needs of the child
  • Financial debt and resources
  • Time each parent spends with the child
  • Costs incurred by childcare
  • Expense of post-secondary education
  • Travel costs
  • Health insurance coverage

Even after the support order is put in place, either parent can petition the court or Texas Attorney General’s Office to review and modify the order. This is typically done if either parent has had a substantial change in circumstances.

How child support can be paid

Collecting child support can be done in several different ways. The order of support may specify a form of payment. If not, the noncustodial parent may pay the full amount of support through any means, including but not limited to:

  • Cash
  • Check
  • Direct deposit
  • Bank transfer
  • Mobile payment apps (Zelle, Venmo, etc)

If the noncustodial parent does not meet his responsibility to pay the amount, measures may be taken to garnish their paychecks by the appropriate governmental authority.

Barfield Law Firm: Raising The Bar For Clients Like You

Brooks Barfield has been practicing law since 1992 and specializes in criminal defense, family law, and negligence. He provides no-nonsense and experienced representation for clients all across the Texas panhandle. Call Us today to schedule a consultation with Brooks Barfield!

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