Child support in Texas is based on the principle that children have the right to support from both parents. In practical terms, this generally means that a parent who has custody of a child can get a court order for support payments from a noncustodial parent. Most demands for child support arise as part of a divorce, but a custodial parent who has never been married to the child’s other parent can sue for child support as long as parentage is established. Once a court has issued a child support order, that order has the force of law and the recipient parent can pursue various legal remedies for nonpayment. At Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant, LLP, our family law attorneys assist parents on both sides of child support disputes at all stages of the legal process. We understand how important a fair child support order is to your child’s welfare and your financial security, so we steadfastly represent your interests as we work to achieve positive results.
Texas has child support guidelines but also gives judges discretion to deviate from the guidelines to order higher or lower payments. As your advocates, our family law attorneys demand financial transparency throughout the process so any calculations are based on reality. We also bring to the court’s attention any pertinent facts that should be considered when deviating from the guidelines.
The process has three basic stages:
A Texas child support order stays in place until a child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever comes later. Payments also terminate if the child becomes emancipated or enlists in the military. If a child is disabled, support may continue indefinitely. Finally, a supporting parent who experiences financial hardship may request a modification of the support order from the court. Similarly, if a child’s needs increase substantially, the recipient parent may seek an increase in the order.
If a supporting parent does not make payments, the recipient parent has access to various enforcement mechanisms through the Child Support Division of the Texas Office of the Attorney General. These include:
A judge can also sentence a nonpaying parent to jail for contempt of court for failure to pay child support. Because of the consequences of nonpayment, a parent who has the ability to pay should never withhold payment over a dispute with the other parent. If the nonpayment is due to real financial hardship, the supporting parent should request a modification before falling behind in payments.
Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant, LLP represents North Texas clients in child support disputes. Call us at 940-230-2386 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We have four North Texas offices, located in Denton, Flower Mound, Gainesville and Celina.
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