Calculating, modifying and enforcing child support in Texas

Texas calculates child support using a percentage of the obligators income, and has strict policies for modifying and enforcing payments as well.

When couples go through a divorce, they are not the only ones who are affected by the decisions that are made. Although children do not have a say in what goes on during the separation, they are ultimately influenced by the choices their parents make. Children are also subject to any financial changes that may take place as they move from a two-parent household to a one-parent household. Texas requires parents to pay child support in an attempt to bridge the financial gap that may occur when people get divorced. Not only does child support help the custodial parent make ends meet, but it also helps children enjoy a better quality of life.

Texas child support model

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, child support in Texas is calculated by using a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income. For example, Texas requires parents who are supporting one child to pay 20 percent of their income. Parents supporting two children must pay 25 percent and so on. In addition to this child support amount, parents may be held accountable for additional expenses, including medical insurance, education and recreational expenses.

Child support modification

Once child support is ordered by Texas courts, parents are obligated to pay the court-ordered amount. Due to unforeseen events, however, some parents may struggle to make their court-ordered payments. If a parent obligated to pay child support is no longer able to make his or her payments because of a dramatic change in life circumstances, the parent may apply for a child support modification. People who have lost their job or filed for bankruptcy may be able to have their payments modified as well.

Enforcing court-ordered child support

Parents that fail to make their child support payments, but have the means to do so may face certain penalties for negligence. In 2011, nearly 500,000 of the one million parents obligated to pay child support in Texas were delinquent in their payments, according to the Houston Chronicle News. The amount of delinquent child support funds totaled $11 billion state-wide.

Texas has several ways of collecting delinquent child support funds, including withholding payments from the obligator’s wages, lottery winnings and tax refunds. Negligent parents may have their professional or driver’s licenses suspended. Officials may even put a warrant out for their arrest in some cases. The Texas Most-Wanted Evaders program works to track down negligent parents who have disappeared from mainstream society. According to the Texas Attorney General, parents on the Child Support Evaders list must owe more than $5,000 in past child support, have a warrant out for their arrest and have failed to make a payment in the last six months.

When to partner with an attorney

Whether you are currently going through a divorce, or need help modifying an existing child support order, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney in Texas. A lawyer with a thorough knowledge of Texas’s child support legislation may be extremely helpful in guiding you through the legal process.