Understanding Child Support in Texas
Texas has specific regulations regarding child support whether you live in Pearland or Houston, Texas. Even with child support regulations clearly stated in the Texas Family Code there are many parents that may not understand their parental rights or financial obligations. Shane has family law offices in both Pearland and Houston Texas. If you feel your child support or parental rights are not being represented correctly please contact our offices to discuss child support or divorce decree modifications.
If you are the parent of a child or are caring for a child you may be eligible to receive child support or you may be required to pay child support. The Kersh Law Firm will explain your potential rights and responsibilities regarding a child support obligation, including: who has a duty to provide child support, what are the eligibility requirements to receive child support, how child support is calculated, and what, if any, additional considerations may impact the amount of a court-mandated payment.
Shane has experience with: negotiating child support payments on behalf of our clients, pursuing unpaid child support, and seeking modifications to existing child support arrangements to increase or decrease support payments, as well as assessing child support in situations involving multiple families, and children with special needs. For assistance understanding your rights or obligations regarding child support, contact our office.
- CHILD: Generally, child support is due and payable for a child until the child turns 18 years-old, graduates from high school (whichever occurs later), marries, dies, or is emancipated (declared an adult) by court order. If the child is disabled or considered to have special needs, a parent may be ordered to pay support the child indefinitely. (See Special Needs Child below.)
- OBLIGEE: The person responsible to receive the actual payment of child support is called the “Obligee.” Generally, but not always, this is the person with whom the child lives more than 50-percent of the time.
- Who is Responsible/Who Has a Duty to Pay?
By law, both parents of a child have a duty to care for the financial needs of their child. In Texas, “parents” are considered to be:
- the biological mother,
- a man presumed to be the father,
- a man legally determined to be the father,
- a man who has been adjudicated to be the father by a court of competent jurisdiction,
- a man who has acknowledged his paternity under applicable law, or
- an adoptive mother or father.
Consult with Shane if you need help confirming a child’s parentage.
Texas law gives guidelines on calculated child support, based on the number of children involved and the income of the parties. The standard levels are:
20% of net income for 1 child
25% of net income for 2 children
30% of net income for 3 children
35% of net income for 4 children
40% of net income for 5 children
Not less than 40% of net income for 6 or more children
There are other factors that may influence the amount you will be required to pay or will be eligible to receive on behalf of your child(ren), for example:
- the child’s age and needs;
- the parent’s ability to contribute to the child’s support;
- whether the paying party has actual physical custody of another child or children;
- employee benefits such as housing or a company car;
- health insurance and uninsured medical expenses for the child;
- extraordinary educational, healthcare or other expenses of the child.
Texas Family Code, Section 154.123
Both parents are required to ensure the child is covered by health insurance. Generally, the person who is responsible to pay child support also has a legal duty to provide health insurance, or reimburse the other parent for the health insurance premiums for the child. A court may order that a child be added to a parent’s health insurance policy.
Special Needs Child
A child may have needs that range from periodic and regular medications to round-the-clock, specialized, hands-on education and care services. Our family law attorneys will spend time getting to know your child’s specific needs – in order to help you determine the level of care, education, and attention required and how that affects child support.
Modification of Child Support
A child support order in Texas may be modified based on the best interest of the child. The court may modify if:
- the circumstances of the child or another related party have substantially changed, or
- three years have passed since the last modification (or the original date of the order), and the amount of support differs from statutory guidelines.
Shane and along with our team can help you review your current child support order and discuss any proposed changes.
The Attorney General and Child Support
If you have been notified by the Attorney General that you have an open case, you have a right to hire a private attorney.
The Texas Attorney General’s office is an enforcement agency, and does not represent you or even your child. The Attorney General (AG) represents the interests of your child insofar as those interests align with the interests of the State of Texas. You cannot rely on the AG to obtain the full amount of child support you need in your case, and you cannot rely on the AG to treat you fairly if another parent is requesting that you pay child support. You need a private Family Law attorney to help you determine your rights in regard to paying and/or receiving child support. Contact the Family Law team at Kersh Law Firm to discuss and understand your rights.
Contact Our Pearland or Houston Offices today to schedule an appointment with Shane Kersh to discuss your child support needs.
Updated January 14, 2020 by Shane