Houston Child Support Attorney
Experienced Child Support Lawyer Serving Families in Harris County, Texas
Understanding child support and how it will apply to your divorce, custody, or paternity case can help you prepare for the future. This is a key matter that must be determined, and if support is ordered by the court, you must comply fully or face enforcement proceedings. If a significant change in circumstances arises, however, you can apply for a modification of support.
At any stage of your divorce or family law matter, Houston child support lawyer Kay Polk can help you understand whether you may be entitled to receive or required to pay support. She has been representing clients’ interests in family law matters across Harris County for nearly 20 years and understands the intricacies of Texas Family Code as it applies to conservatorship (custody) and child support. She can help with enforcement and modification proceedings as well.
Calculating Child Support in Texas
In Texas, specific guidelines are set forth based on a noncustodial parent’s net resources and the number of children being supported. The following percentages are applied:
- For 1 child, 20% of the noncustodial parent’s net resources
- For 2 children, 25% of the noncustodial parent’s net resources
- For 3 children, 30% of the noncustodial parent’s net resources
- For 4 children, 35% of the noncustodial parent’s net resources
- For 5 children, 40% of the noncustodial parent’s net resources
- For 6 or more children, at least 40% of the noncustodial parent’s net resources
Variations may apply if the noncustodial parent has other children he or she is supporting.
Texas Child Support Guidelines
Net resources are calculated by subtracting the following from the noncustodial parent’s gross income:
- Income tax
- Social Security tax
- Health insurance for the child/children
- Cash medical support
- Union dues
- Non-discretionary retirement contributions (if the parent does not pay Social Security taxes)
Child support is paid directly to the Texas State Disbursement Unit (SBU), most often via automatic wage withholding. The SBU records and disburses funds to the custodial parent.
What Age Do You Stop Paying Child Support in Texas?
In Texas, child support typically ends when a child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. However, there are exceptions and circumstances that might extend the duration of child support payments.
High School Graduation: If the child graduates from high school after turning 18 but before their 19th birthday, child support will usually continue until graduation.
Special Needs or Disabilities: If the child has a mental or physical disability that prevents them from becoming self-supporting, the court may order child support to continue indefinitely.
Emancipation: A child may become emancipated before turning 18, which means they are legally considered an adult. In such cases, child support may end.
Military Service: If the child joins the military before turning 18, child support may end.
Marriage: If the child gets married before turning 18, child support may cease.
It's important to note that child support orders should be reviewed periodically, especially if there's a significant change in circumstances, such as the child's needs, the obligor's financial situation, or other relevant factors. The court may modify the child support order accordingly.
Understanding child support laws in Texas is crucial to fulfill legal obligations and ensure the well-being of the child. Consulting with a family law attorney in Texas can provide the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding child support and its duration in the state.
How Can a Child Custody Attorney Help Me?
A child custody attorney can be a valuable resource if you are facing a child custody dispute or need assistance with matters related to child custody. Here are some ways in which a child custody attorney can help you:
- Legal expertise: Child custody attorneys are experienced in family law and have a deep understanding of the legal framework governing child custody, including state and federal laws, regulations, and relevant court decisions. They can provide you with legal advice tailored to your specific situation.
- Objective guidance: Child custody disputes can be emotionally charged and complex. An attorney can provide you with an objective perspective, helping you make informed decisions and avoid making emotional or impulsive choices.
- Negotiation and mediation: Child custody attorneys can assist you in negotiating custody arrangements with the other parent. They may also help facilitate mediation sessions to reach agreements outside of court. This can be a more amicable and cost-effective way to resolve custody matters.
- Court representation: If negotiations or mediation fail to produce an agreement, a child custody attorney can represent you in court. They will present your case, argue on your behalf, and provide evidence to support your position.
- Legal documentation: Child custody attorneys can help you prepare the necessary legal documents, such as custody petitions, parenting plans, and court filings. They ensure that all documents are correctly filled out and submitted in a timely manner.
- Child's best interests: Child custody attorneys focus on advocating for the best interests of the child. They can help you develop a parenting plan that considers the child's needs, well-being, and preferences.
- Modification of custody orders: If circumstances change, such as a parent relocating or a change in a child's needs, an attorney can help you seek modifications to existing custody orders.
- Enforcing custody orders: If the other parent is not complying with a court-ordered custody arrangement, a child custody attorney can help you enforce the order through legal means.
- Protecting your rights: An attorney will work to protect your legal rights as a parent, ensuring that your voice is heard in the legal process.
- Legal support and guidance: Child custody attorneys can provide you with emotional support and practical guidance throughout the custody process. They can answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a parent.
Keep in mind that it's essential to choose a qualified and experienced child custody attorney who specializes in family law to get the best possible assistance in your child custody case. They can help you navigate the legal system and work toward a resolution that is in the best interests of your child.
How a Houston Child Support Lawyer Can Help
If child support is established based on set guidelines, why do you need an attorney? A skilled Houston child support attorney can make sure that your interests are properly protected when custody is determined, which will then influence who is required to pay or entitled to receive support. Our experienced Houston child support attorney can also make sure that your financial situation is properly presented to the court, such as all applicable deductions from your gross income, or special circumstances/needs that may justify the payment of additional support.