What is Child Support in Texas?
In Texas, parents have an obligation to support their children and ensure that they are financially provided for. When parents do not live together as a single-family unit, the non-custodial parent is often required to pay child support.
If you need assistance with the child support process, contact me today at 817-282-9895 for a free consultation.
Child Support in Texas
The Child Support Division in the Office of the Attorney General is responsible for establishing, enforcing, and modifying child support orders in Tarrant County. There are several different ways to apply for child support services. The easiest way is to apply online through the website of the Texas Attorney General. You can also request a physical application through the mail or phone.
Many times, establishing child support occurs at the same time as a divorce. However, unmarried parents can also request child support. In Texas, legal paternity must be established before the court will order a father to pay child support. Establishing paternity may include a court-ordered paternity test.
How is Child Support Calculated in Tarrant County?
Texas has a basic guideline to calculate the amount of child support due each month. The guideline takes into account income and the number of children. It is based on income from all sources, including:
- Wages, overtime, bonuses, commissions, and tips;
- Social Security Disability and VA Disability;
- Social Security; and
- Workers compensation benefits.
If the amount under the guideline would be unfair to a parent or the child, the court can adjust the child support amount. When making this determination, the court will look at several factors, including:
- The age and needs of the child;
- The parent’s financial ability to support the child;
- The financial resources and debts of each parent;
- The time the child spends with each parent;
- The receiving parent’s net resources;
- Childcare or education expenses; and
- Alimony payments.
How is Child Support Enforced in Tarrant County?
The Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division enforces non-payment of child support in Tarrant County. If a parent is failing to pay child support, you should contact their office. You should not refuse visitation to the non-paying parent. You will end up violating the possession order and could face penalties yourself.
There are several tools the Child Support Division uses to enforce child support orders. These include:
- Suspending licenses, such as your driver’s license, professional license, and hunting and fishing license.
- Denying a new or renewed passport.
- Filing a lien on properties, bank accounts, retirement plans, life insurance plans, personal injury claims, insurance settlements, or awards.
- Reporting the non-payment to credit bureau reporting agencies.
- Charging you with civil contempt, which could result in fines.
- Charging you with criminal contempt, which could result in jail time and probation.
Can You Modify a Child Support Order in Tarrant County?
In Tarrant County, child support orders can be modified. There are two situations where child support payments can change.
- You request a modification from the court and prove that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the last child support order. Examples of significant changes include a shift in custody or job loss.
- If it has been over three years since the last child support order and the current amount varies from the guideline by at least 20% or $100, you can ask the Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division to review the amount of support.
If you cannot pay, you should immediately seek a court-ordered modification. Any verbal agreement you come to with the child’s other parent will not be recognized by the court. You will end up still being responsible for any unpaid amount.
How Long Does Child Support Last in Tarrant County?
Typically, child support ends when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. However, if your child has a disability, payments could continue after the child turns 18.
If you owe back child support, you will continue to owe these payments even after the child turns 18.
Your Tarrant County Family Law Attorney
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to establish child support for your child, modify existing child support orders, or seek enforcement for your current orders, give us a call. With over 24 years of experience, we’ll work to get you the result you need.
The Law Office Of Craig S. Michalk provides experienced legal counsel in all areas of family law; including divorce, child custody, child support, paternity, adoptions, modifications, enforcements, and name changes.
We represent clients in the Tarrant County, Texas communities of Arlington, Azle, Bedford, Colleyville, Euless, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Haltom City, Haslet, Hurst, Keller, Lake Worth, Mansfield, North Richland Hills, Richland Hills, Roanoke, Saginaw, Southlake, and Watauga.
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