Transitioning to a single-income household is a big adjustment. Children need to acclimate to visitation schedules, and parents must adjust to co-parenting and handling child support payments. Many families find these changes overwhelming and confusing.

If you are a newly single parent, understanding your child support rights can alleviate stress and better equip you to handle this new chapter in your family’s life. A Houston child support lawyer could explain your obligations, what you should expect if you are the receiving party, and protect the financial security of your children by fighting for fair payments on their behalf. The family law attorneys at Angela Faye Brown can be a great resource for parents as we plenty of experience in cases that specifically involve children. No matter what the circumstances of your child support case it is always our goal to protect the wellbeing of your child.

Houston Child Support Laws

When parents get a divorce, the non-custodial parent (or obligor) is usually responsible for paying child support. However, the court can also require the custodial parent to pay depending on the circumstances. Per Texas Family Code §154.001, a child must receive financial support until or unless:

  • They either graduate high school or turn 18 years old, whichever happens later
  • They get married
  • They die
  • They become disabled indefinitely

Courts consider the parents’ income, benefits, assets, and other types of compensation when determining how much child support one party must pay to the other. The custodial parent must use the money received from child support payments to take care of their child. As such, they should keep receipts from purchases made for their child in case of an audit. A lawyer in Houston could explain a paying parent’s child support obligations as they are set out in the court order.

Failure to Pay

If the non-custodial parent repeatedly fails to make child support payments, they could face legal consequences such as wage withholding, license suspension, lawsuits, or even jail time. In these situations, the obligee (custodial parent) has the right to pursue child support enforcement, although this usually requires obtaining a court order. An attorney could advise a parent on how to best address missed child support payments.

How Is Child Support Calculated in Houston?

The amount of child support that the obligor pays depends on how many children they are paying for. If they have one child, they pay 20 percent of their net resources. For two children, they pay 25 percent. The amount increases by five percent for each additional child, with five children amounting to 40 percent and six or more children amounting to no less than 40 percent. If the obligor is paying to support children in multiple households, the amounts they must pay are adjusted based on how many children are in one home.

Can Parents Change a Child Support Order?

Initially, parents can challenge a child support order before it takes effect. This typically happens if there are circumstances or expenses that the court did not have accounted for, such as a child’s disability, health care costs, or educational expenses. Only the court can amend a support agreement after enacting it. Parents can request a review of their existing agreement under the following circumstances:

  • If the parent’s or child’s situation has changed dramatically
  • If it has been at least three years since the court established the support order
  • If the monthly payment amount changes considerably based on child support guidelines

Parents who wish to change their child support order should consult with an attorney in Houston to determine whether they can request the court to review their existing agreement.

Work with a Houston Child Support Attorney

Whether you want to request a child support order review, pursue enforcement, or learn more about your rights as a paying or receiving party, our local legal team is here to help. Contact a Houston child support lawyer to discuss your situation. Our attorneys could work hard to make sure that your child is financially taken care of.