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Child Support

North Texas Child Support Attorneys Obtain Fair Orders

Experienced family lawyers serve parents in Denton and Flower Mound

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.

Our Texas child support lawyers urge realistic payment orders

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:

  • Determining net income — The court looks at the supporting parent’s total income from all sources and subtracts eligible deductions, which include state and federal taxes, Social Security withholdings, union dues, retirement fund contributions, and the cost of the child’s healthcare insurance.
  • Applying the guidelines — The court takes the net income and multiplies by a percentage based on the number of children to be supported. Starting with 20 percent for a single child, the percentage increases by five for each additional child until it reaches a maximum of 40 percent for six or more children.
  • Considering discretionary factors — If a judge determines that the guideline amount is not in the best interest of the child, the court may deviate upward or downward from this amount. Factors the court must consider include the age and needs of the child, the child’s educational expenses, extraordinary expenses, the recipient parent’s income, and the amount of time each parent has possession of the child.

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.

Enforcement of nonpayment in Denton and Flower Mound

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:

  • Garnishing wages
  • Intercepting income tax refund checks, lottery winnings or money from other state or federal sources
  • Putting liens on property
  • Suspending the parent’s driver, professional, and hunting and fishing licenses
  • Filing a lawsuit against the noncustodial parent

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.

Contact a dedicated North Texas attorney to manage your child support dispute

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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