Basics of Child Support: What the Texas Family Code Says

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Family Law Attorneys in Houston

According to the Texas Family Code, the physical custody determines which parent will make payments for child support. While the judge could order both or either parent to support their child, in the majority of cases, the parent who doesn’t have physical custody of the child (the non-custodial parent) is the one who pays the custodial parent child support.

The Child Support Amount

Simply because one parent was ordered to make payments doesn’t mean that the custodial parent doesn’t have responsibilities regarding the costs related to raising their child. In general, courts assume that the custodial parent will only use the payments for the child’s needs. The child support amount will depend on a specific percentage of the income of the noncustodial parent.

The paying parent could calculate this amount by referencing the fee schedule under the child support guidelines of the state, according to family law attorneys in Houston, TX. Although the paying parent could pay more than the ordered amount, they can’t pay less because the court has to approve all payments. In addition, there are circumstances when the result provided by the child support guidelines would seem unfair to the child or the paying parent. In cases like these, the court would have to review the case and might modify the child support amount.

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The court might order noncustodial parents to pay child support until their child is 18 years old or finishes high school, whichever happens later, emancipated, dies, or marries. If the child involved is disabled, child support payments would have to be made indefinitely.

Could a Child Support Order be Changed?

Once the court approves a child support order, you could request the attorney general’s office or the court to modify it, but only if one of the parents’ experiences a significant and material changes in their life. These changes include job loss, getting married to someone else, or a substantial shift in custody. The threshold will be lower if the child support order has been in effect for more than three years, however.

These are only some of the things you need to know about child support. If anything is still unclear, don’t hesitate to consult your lawyer.