Both parents have rights and responsibilities with respect to minor children under Texas law, regardless of whether they are married or live under the same roof. One of the most essential obligations is paying child support if you do not have residential custody and/or the other parent is the primary caregiver. Because of the importance of financial support in the child’s upbringing and well-being, many complicated legal issues can arise regarding child support duties, calculating the amount, and enforcement.
At The Ramos Law Group, PLLC, our attorneys have extensive experience representing parents on both sides of the child support issue. We also have in-depth knowledge of the relevant statutes, so we can explain your rights, obligations, and the legal process. To learn how we can assist with your case, please contact our child support lawyers in The Woodlands to set up a consultation. You might also benefit from reviewing some basic information about how the laws work.
Summary of Texas Child Support Laws: The obligation to pay support arises at the child’s birth, but the issue typically comes up in one of two contexts:
- Divorce: Child support is one of the key issues that the parties must address and a court will decide as part of divorce proceedings.
- Paternity: When the child’s parents are not married, there is no requirement to pay child support until paternity is legally established. The parents can choose to execute a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, in which they agree on parentage. In addition, either parent can initiate a paternity case by filing the proper documents. Parties can present evidence, including DNA test results, to prove paternity.
Texas Statutes and Guidelines on Child Support: Once the responsibility to pay child support is established through either of the above options, the next step is determining the amount. Texas lawmakers have established guidelines, which require that a designated percentage of “net income” will go towards child support. The percentage works according to the number of children, starting at 20 percent for one child and increasing by 5 percentage points up to 40 percent for six children. Note that for all support obligations arising after September 1, 2019, there is a statutory cap of $9,200 on net income.
A parent does not pay child support by submitting a check every month; instead, payments are made through wage withholding. The process works by delivering the appropriate court order to the payor’s employer, which will automatically deduct the requisite amount. The funds are forwarded to the Texas State Disbursement Unit, which makes arrangements to send them to the recipient parent.
Common Issues and Disputes Regarding Child Support: There are multiple concerns and problems that can arise during court proceedings and after a child support order is entered. Our attorneys at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC can explain and advise you on such issues as:
Enforcement: Even if you have a wage withholding order for receiving child support, it will terminate if the payor parent no longer works for the relevant employer. In addition, there are other strategies a parent may use to avoid paying support. Under the circumstances, you do have legal options to enforce a child support order. You may be entitled to:
- Recover past due amounts, plus interest;
- Obtain attorneys’ fees you expend on enforcement efforts;
- Get a new wage withholding order and lien on wages from the parent’s new employer; and,
- Have the non-paying parent’s driver’s license and professional licenses revoked.
Plus, a parent’s failure to pay child support is a direct violation of a court order for which criminal penalties may apply.
Modifications: Many things can change in the weeks or months following the entry of a child support order. If the payor or recipient parent experiences a substantial change in circumstances, you can petition the court to modify the amount.
Payors with Multiple Children: When a payor parent has children through more than one relationship, the statutory guidelines may need to be adjusted to meet the reality of the situation.
Contact The Woodlands Child Support Lawyers For More Information
This overview of child support laws in Texas may be useful, but the legal concepts and court proceedings are far more complicated than you might expect. It is crucial to retain an experienced attorney to represent your interests, whether you are seeking support or are required to pay it. For information customized to your unique situation, please contact The Ramos Law Group, PLLC. We can schedule a consultation to review your circumstances and advise you on child support issues.
Our Client Testimonials
The decision to end my 25-year marriage was not an easy one, but hiring the Ramos Law Group was. From the initial consultation to the execution of the Divorce Decree everyone at the firm displayed the utmost professionalism and I was treated as if I was their only client. My attorney Lindsey, always provided precise legal guidance, was usually one step ahead of the opposing counsel, and had a superb understanding of how things would play out in the court room. Additionally, whenever my case needed a little extra horsepower, Mary provided that "surge" to keep things on track.
"Ms. Ramos and her entire staff worked with professionalism and compassion to guide me through the most difficult time of my life and to an outcome that was best for my family and myself. Ramos Law is incredible and I highly, highly recommend their services."
"I was recommended to see Mary Ramos for my on coming custody case,it was the best thing I could've done honestly.The Ramos law group was quick with emailed responses and telephone calls,informative with ANY questions I had and they also took action with what they thought would work,which it did,I had money troubles and they were still willing to help they sent me with a younger lawyer Lindsey Lewis to help save some money and she was the best!She knew what she was doing and Mary was still on my case to make sure things went smoothly and to catch any details Lindsey and I might have missed.All in all I am a very satisfied client and if I ever needed a family lawyer again I would come back.My case was won as I received primary for my daughter which is exactly what I asked for.If you're willing to listen to what they have to say and follow their guidance they're definitely worth hiring.I thought I wanted sole custody for my daughter and they explained that wasn't in the best interest for her and honestly they were right,they speak to you on a professional level and also a real level of how things are actually going to work and what could happen if you take a certain action.They definitely care about their clients and make their own bond with you,you're not just money in their pockets you turn into family. "
"I received excellent advice and representation from Ms. Lindsey Lewis. She kept me updated at every step of the process, and I never felt as if my case was set aside. I would hire The Ramos Law Group in the future. "
"I started my divorce with a lawyer who was not very responsive. My divorce case was complicated and needed more laborious scrutiny. Since the case was not moving forward I had to switch lawyers. Made the switch to Ramos Law group. Since the very first day Mary and her team have been very efficient and meticulous. Since the case was complicated the team had to go through myriads of pages in discovery. I was pleased with the legal team that helped us handle the paperwork in a very timely manner. All my questions were answered very promptly. The relay of information was easy with their software system. We finally had a law firm that we could trust. My divorce was finalized and I only have Mary and her team to thank for going through a difficult divorce. I would highly recommend the Ramos law group for their help and support for getting my life back on track. "