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Irving Child Support Attorney

The Texas Supreme Court recently released their opinion in Ochsner v. Ochsner pertaining to child support enforcement. However, an introduction to their holding had the following quote:

Children get only one childhood. Unfortunately, acrimony between divorced couples is common, and when those couples have children, Texas law commendably tries to blunt the impact of grown-ups’ hostility. One key way to reduce parental bickering—and protect kids caught in the crossfire—is through a child-support order that specifies how the noncustodial parent is to provide financial support. If the order is violated, the Family Code provides enforcement options.

At Queenan Law, we know that child support is one of the most contentious parts of a divorce, that is why we are committed to protecting families. To set up a free legal consultation about your family law matter, call the Queenan Law Firm at (817) 476-1797.

Child Support in Irving, TX

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In Texas, child support is ordered by the courts on behalf of a minor who is under the age of eighteen years old as a means of ensuring that they will receive adequate funding for their care and needs. Child support payments are intended to provide the child with many things including food, shelter, clothing, educational expenses, and other additional items. While as a general matter, child support payments will terminate when the child turns eighteen years old, in certain circumstances child support payments may be extended indefinitely, this is most often the case when the child has special physical needs.  In Texas, child support is calculated based in part from the child support guidelines which are set forth in the Texas Family Code.

Before a child support, the order is entered the court will also weigh several factors including the physical, mental and emotional needs of the child, as well as the ability of parents to provide adequate support and care.

What Income is Considered for Child Support?

When the noncustodial parent is responsible for paying child support, the amount that they will be expected to pay will be based in part on their income.  The Texas Family Law Code lays out specific parameters for calculating income.  Section 154.062 sets forth that the court shall calculate the net resources of the noncustodial parent by including the following sources of income:

  • All wages and salary
  • Compensation of personal services including commissions, overtime pay, tips, and dividends.
  • Income from self-employment.
  • Rent after deducting operating expenses and mortgage payments
  • Severance pay
  • Retirement benefits
  • Pensions
  • Trust income
  • Annuities
  • Capital gains
  • Social security benefits
  • Other supplemental security income

While the general rule is that income for the purposes of calculating child support should include all income, the statute explicitly excludes certain resources such as:

  • Return of principal or capital
  • Accounts receivable
  • Benefits that are paid in accordance with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program or another federal public assistance program
  • Payments for foster care of a child.

It can be difficult to navigate all of the various sections of the Family Law

What Factors can a Judge Consider to Set Child Support in Irving?

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While the statute may make it clear what things can be considered as income, a judge may adjust child support up or down from the presumptive amount under the guidelines depending on:

  • The age and needs of the child;
  • Educational expenses beyond secondary school;
  • Provisions for health insurance and payment of uninsured medical expenses;
  • Extraordinary educational, health-care, or other expenses of the parties or the child;
  • Any resources available for the child's support;
  • Whether either party has managing conservatorship or possession of another child;
  • Each party's period of possession or access to the child;
  • Child care expenses that allow either party to maintain gainful employment;
  • Each parent's respective ability to contribute to the child's support;
  • The paying spouse's earning capacity if intentionally unemployed or underemployed and any
  • deemed income;
  • Spousal maintenance paid or received;
  • Benefits such as a car, house, or other benefits paid by an employer, another person or a business;
  • Paycheck deductions other than those already factored into calculating net monthly resources;
  • Cash flow from any real or personal property including businesses or investments;
  • Debts assumed by either party; or
  • Any other reason consistent with the child's best interest, taking into consideration the parents' circumstances.

The judge is granted a fair amount of latitude to modify the child support orders, therefore you should consider addressing these issues with an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate the complex proceedings in the Texas family court system.

How do you Modify a Child Support Order?

There are many reasons why either the paying spouse or the receiving spouse may want to modify their child support order. Under the Texas Family Law Code, a child support order may be modified if

  • It has been three or more years since the child support order was established or was last modified and the monthly amount of child support ordered differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would have been awarded according to the child support guidelines. Or
  • There has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the child support order was last set.

While the first method of modifying an order is relatively common, it is also very common for a parent to seek a child support order based on a material and substantial change in their circumstances. Some examples of what may constitute a material and substantial change include the following:

  • The noncustodial parent’s income has either increased or decreased.
  • The noncustodial parent is legally responsible for additional children,
  • The child or children’s medical insurance coverage has changed.
  • The child or children’s living arrangement has changed.

A child support order can be modified through a court hearing or alternatively through the Child Support Review Process. Out of these two methods, the Child Support Review Process tends to be the faster route as it can take a considerable amount of time to schedule a court hearing.

Contact Our Family Law Attorneys in Dallas, Arlington and Houston

To set up a free legal consultation about your family law matter, call the Queenan Law Firm at (817) 476-1797.  With more than 20 years of legal experience representing mothers and fathers throughout the Arlington area, our attorneys are always eager to put our knowledge and skill to work for you.

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