If you’re a parent and either separate or divorce, you’ll need to figure out child support. When you were still together, you didn’t really think about this. You both just made sure the kids had what they needed. Most parents don’t divide up how they’re going to pay for food, clothing, and sports while they’re still together. Once a couple splits up, they start tracking what they spend. Two people who used to work hard to provide for their children now fight over what to spend. A Houston child support attorneys meets with clients every week who are going through something like this. Parents can’t get along with each other and often take it out on the children.
The courts understand that when it comes to money, people don’t always agree. This is especially true in divorce situations. Parents often don’t understand why they must pay child support if they’re already paying the other party alimony. If they’re already giving their ex money to pay bills, why should they have to give them more money?
Child support is intended to be used to take care of the kids. It’s meant to cover things like the following:
- Social activities
- School needs
- Heat, water, gas, and electric
- Healthcare needs
The reason so many parents get frustrated is they think their alimony is already being used to pay for a lot of these things. If your ex gets a couple thousand a month in alimony, that’s meant to cover the utilities and food, right? The answer is yes and no. Call a Houston child support attorney at Eddington & Worley today to review your alimony negotiation.
How is Child Support Negotiated?
When it comes to child support, things can get ugly. Whoever is not the custodial parent usually will have to pay their ex-spouse child support. The custodial parent is the one who has physical custody of the children. Because they have the kids most of the time, the expense of taking care of them falls on the custodial parent.
For this reason, the court requires that the non-custodial parent pay child support. This money is paid directly to the ex-spouse. In most cases, the parents just arrange this between the two of them. Other people prefer to use the court to handle these payments. The money comes right out of one parent’s paycheck and is sent to the other parent.
A lot of people make child support a part of their divorce agreement. They specify how much support will be paid and they agree on the method of payment. Many attorneys insist that this issue be resolved before they’ll schedule a final divorce hearing.
If you can’t agree on an amount, your Houston child support attorney can refer to the child support guidelines. These are formulas used to determine how much child support is owed each month. It takes the following into consideration:
- Both parents’ income
- Any special fees or dues paid such as union dues
- How many children the couple has
- The children’s ages
- Who is responsible for the kids’ health insurance?
- Any special childcare credits
They plug this information into the Texas child support calculator. The program will then give a printout of how much should be paid.
What are the Child support guidelines in texas
The Texas child support calculator is pretty straightforward. You plug in how much each parent makes. You also put the children’s information into the program. Finally, you’ll enter how much time each parent has custody of the children.
The program will spit out a number. This is the amount of child support the non-custodial parent has to pay each week. The reason child support is calculated per week is that some months have more than 4 weeks.
Keep in mind – if the parents can’t work out child support amongst themselves, the judge will do it for them. The judge will literally plug the same information into the guidelines as your attorney. He is going to print out the report and, more than likely, this is what you’ll have to pay.
The first thing your child support lawyer will do is determine your income. To do this, he will have to enter the following information:
- Social security taxes
- Union dues paid
- Federal income tax withheld
- State income tax
This will give your lawyer the baseline income. He will then enter the additional information to come up with the child support amount.
It is difficult to manipulate the child support guidelines because they’re based on formulas. The only thing you can to really impact the number is change the number of days each parent has custody of the kids.
Generally, the following figures can be used when determining child support:
- 1 child = 20% net income
- 2 children = 25% net income
- 3 children = 30% net income
- 4 children = 35% net income
- 5 children = 40% net income
- 6 or more children must be at least 40% net income
These numbers obviously don’t apply to every case. Sometimes, there are certain things that impact the bottom-line child support number. If the non-custodial parent is already paying $500 a month in childcare, this will reduce his child support. Of, if he’s paying $800 a month in healthcare for the kids, his child support will also be lower.
how can a lawyer help in enforcing a child support order?
When you and your ex sign a divorce agreement, it will contain the child support terms. This agreement will become part of the final order for divorce. This means that if one parent doesn’t pay his child support, the other parent can ask the court to enforce this order.
In other situations, the parents were never married at all. They had children together but never really had a long-term relationship. This means there is no divorce order. For parents who aren’t married, you can still have child support ordered.
Parents who never married can go to court and ask that one parent be ordered to pay child support. For parents who were never married, child support is usually a more contentious matter. This may be because they weren’t together as long as other married couples. Or, maybe it’s just more contentious because they don’t have the benefit of a divorce order.
Let’s say two people date for three months. They find out the woman is pregnant. They decide to have the baby but break up long before the baby is born. Once that child is born, the father is going to have to pay child support. If he won’t do so voluntarily, the mom has no choice but to go to court. Child support lawyers in Houston can help you do this.
Can child support be modified
Over time, situations change. Custody agreements change. People change jobs. When these things happen, you’ll need to modify your child support. A child support lawyer can help do this. The attorney will look at the changed circumstances to see if child support should increase or decrease.
Usually, the custodial parent is the one who files for a child support modification. If you learn that your ex is now making a lot more than he was before, you’ll expect more support. The court agrees. However, if his income goes down, you can expect your support to go down.
The non-custodial parent can file for a child support modification as well. If his income goes down or he loses his job, he can ask the court to reduce child support. Child support lawyers can file a motion to make this happen.
Contact a Child Support Attorney in the Houston Area Today
If you’re having an issue with child support, you need to contact a skilled family law attorney in Houston, Texas. Your lawyer can review your case and see what needs to be done. If you have no child support order in place, an attorney can file a motion to get one. If you have an order but circumstances have changed, the attorney can file a child support modification motion.
You have to remember, child support in Texas follows the child support guidelines. You can’t ask for more money just because times are tough. The judge is going to stick to the guidelines. However, there are times when child support needs to change.
You can file for child support yourself. However, we wouldn’t recommend it. Chances are, your ex is going to have a lawyer on their side. You don’t want to go into court alone if your ex has a lawyer. This is why you need to contact a divorce attorney of your own. You could get taken advantage of. Or, you may not know the court procedures. You could end up with an order that favors the other parent.
Call and schedule an appointment with a Houston child support attorney today. We can answer any questions you may have. We can also reach out to your ex-spouse’s lawyer and try to negotiate a child support plan that is fair for everyone.