Lewisville Child Support Attorneys
Child Support Issues
Texas family law can seem complex and confusing. There are many different circumstances to which different laws and interpretations of the laws can be applied. Because of this, resolving issues like child support can become very difficult and complicated. Stress and high emotion can also add to the general feeling of helplessness. However, it is important to keep calm, seek assistance, and remind yourself that there is a solution to every problem.
At Steele Law, P.C., our legal team is dedicated to helping clients tackle any family law issue. We provide guidance every step of the way and work towards the best possible outcome. If you have children and have decided to divorce, or want to modify a child support order, we can help you understand your legal rights and options. To consult with a Lewisville family law attorney, call us at (214) 333-4357.
Seeking Child Support through the District Courts
Generally the fastest route to obtain child support or a modification of your current child support is by filing a case with in the Texas District Courts with the assistance of a skilled attorney. In this situation, your attorney will file suit on your behalf and have the other parent served with papers to notify them of the suit. The other parent will be required to provide your attorney and the Court with proof of their current income and financial relief can be achieved relatively quickly, either through a hearing or settlement negotiations.
The Attorney General of Texas also allows parents to apply to open or modify a child support case, and this option is often useful when the parents of the child have never been married and custody is uncontested; however, actions brought through the Attorney General's Office typically take much longer for your case to be evaluated and it will take longer for you to obtain the financial relief that you may be needing than if you file your case directly with the assistance of a skilled attorney in a Texas District Court.
Parents should carefully consider their options before filing a case through the Attorney General's office. Generally, once the Attorney General is involved in a case, they will remain involved until the child is an adult. The Attorney General's job is to seek support for the child, and they do not represent either parent's interests. This leaves the parents with less control in deciding what support arrangements are best for their children and families.
Opening a Child Support Case with the Attorney General
Both custodial and noncustodial parents can open a child support case by applying for child support services online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or by calling (800) 252-8014 to request an application. If you are planning on doing so, it is best to consult with an experienced family law attorney first to determine whether this is the best option for your situation.
Once a case is opened, you will have a negotiation conference with the other parent in the child support office. If both you and the other parent cannot settle on all child-related issues in the office, then the case will be taken to court at which point you should definitely speak to an attorney.
Child Support Payment in Lewisville
There are typically two routes divorcing parents can take to establish child support. They can come to a child support agreement themselves through collaborative law; or child support will be calculated by the court. There is a formula to calculate child support in Texas. With some exceptions, the child support payment amount is based on net income (pay after taxes) and these guidelines:
- One child - 20% of the noncustodial parent's net income
- Two children - 25% of net income
- Three children - 30% of net income
- Four children - 35% of net income
- Five or more children - 40% of net income
Whether the noncustodial spouse, or the "obligor," is working or not, he or she will be required to pay child support to the custodial spouse, or the "obligee." The payment amount may be adjusted according to his or her financial circumstance and other obligations, such as supporting children in a separate household.
If the obligor has an unstable income, the court will average his or her monthly income over a period of time and assign a corresponding payment plan. If unemployed, then the obligor will pay child support based upon the federal minimum wage.
The Consequences of Not Paying Child Support
Consistent financial support is necessary for a child's well-being after divorce and both parents are responsible for this. If the obligor, or non-custodial parent, does not make the payments, he or she may be charged with contempt of court and face up to six months in jail along with hefty fines, court costs, and attorney's fees for each violation. Whether you have to come to a child support agreement for the first time or your ex-spouse has stopped making the required payments, you should discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney before making any decisions.
Keeping the Family Intact
Although necessary, disputes over child support can make for exceedingly trying times not just for former spouses, but also for their children. An agreement can be hard to come by when there are both the parents' and the children's well-being to consider. Attorney Dina Steele has had years of experience dealing with child custody and support cases and will use her skills to find the best possible solution for your case.
Get in touch with Steele Law, P.C. today by calling (214) 333-4357 or filling out our online contact form.