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Child Support In Texas

Child support is frequently one of the most contentious issues in any divorce, as one parent may feel they are being asked to pay too much while the other is convinced that they are not being given enough. These kinds of disagreements can often lead to heated arguments and one parent feeling it necessary to take action in court, but there can be many complicating factors to decisions in these cases.

While both parents usually want to ensure a child’s needs are being met, there can be circumstances that make it difficult for one parent to pay the amount of child support that is being extended. Texas does allow for the modification of child support, and parents are also able to take enforcement actions when a parent is not paying child support.

“At The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, we recognize that each case is uniquely different.”

Houston Child Support Attorney

If you are struggling to pay or receive child support relating to your divorce in the Houston area, you will need to make sure that you get yourself legal representation for assistance with the issue. The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, understands the complexity of these kinds of issues and can help you get a satisfying resolution to your case.

You will want to call 281-973-0431 or contact our firm online so we can review your case and take a look at all your finances and make sure that you are able to get fair payments for your child. Ikaha M. Sparrow has more than a decade of experience handling these kinds of issues and will be able to help guide you to a successful resolution to your case.

Calculating Child Support

Child support is determined by a set formula and is usually issued according to the following percentages:

  • 20% of net resources for one child
  • 25% of net resources for two children
  • 30% of net resources for three children
  • 35% of net resources for four children
  • 40% of net resources for five children
  • Not less than 40% for six or more children

Net resources include salary, commissions, overtime, tips, bonuses, dividend income, self-employment income, net rental income, severance pay, retirement benefits, pensions, trust income, annuities, capital gains, Social Security benefits, unemployment benefits, interest income, gifts, prizes, spousal maintenance, and alimony. When determining net resources, the court will take the total amount of money received from all sources and deduct Social Security taxes, federal taxes using only one deduction, state income tax, union dues, and the cost of the child’s health insurance.

The court also considers if the parent paying support has other children to support. When calculating child support obligations, net resources are capped at $9,200 per month. If the paying parent’s net resources exceed $9,200 per month, the percentage is only applied to the first $9,200. When a child’s needs exceed the presumptive amount of support, the responsibility for meeting the additional needs will be allocated between the parties based on their circumstances and the proven needs of a child.

Under Texas Family Code § 154.001, a court can order either or both parents to support a child in the manner specified by an order:

  • Until the child is 18 years of age or until graduation from high school, whichever occurs later;
  • Until the child is emancipated through marriage, through the removal of the disabilities of minority by court order, or by other operation of law;
  • Until the death of the child; or
  • If the child is disabled as defined in this chapter, for an indefinite period.

Child support or spousal support order can be enforced in Texas without assistance from a court. A notice could be sent directly to the paying parent’s employer in Texas and trigger income withholding by that employer without the necessity of a hearing, although the employee could object. A parent can also seek direct administrative enforcement by the support enforcement agency.

A court will usually order child support to be paid monthly or bimonthly, usually depending on how often the paying parent is paid. Child support is frequently deducted from the paycheck of the paying parent through wage withholding, so the payments are issued as often as the paying parent is paid.

Texas Family Code § 160.604 establishes that an individual cannot be adjudicated to be a parent unless the court has personal jurisdiction over the individual. A court of this state having jurisdiction to adjudicate parentage may exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident

Individual or the guardian or conservator of the individual if the conditions in Texas Family Code § 159.201 are satisfied. That statute provides that a tribunal of Texas can exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident individual or the individual’s guardian or conservator if:

  • The individual is personally served with citation in this state;
  • The individual submits to the jurisdiction of this state by consent in a record, by entering a general appearance, or by filing a responsive document having the effect of waiving any contest to personal jurisdiction;
  • The individual resided with the child in this state;
  • The individual resided in this state and provided prenatal expenses or support for the child;
  • The child resides in this state as a result of the acts or directives of the individual;
  • The individual engaged in sexual intercourse in this state and the child may have been conceived by that act of intercourse;
  • The individual asserted parentage of a child in the paternity registry maintained in this state by the vital statistics unit; or
  • There is any other basis consistent with the constitutions of this state and the United States for the exercise of personal jurisdiction.

Texas Family Code § 160.604(c) further notes that lack of jurisdiction over one individual does not preclude the court from making an adjudication of parentage binding on another individual over whom the court has personal jurisdiction. Without temporary emergency jurisdiction, a Texas court cannot modify a child custody determination made by the court of another state or nation, unless the Texas court has jurisdiction to make an initial custody determination and either the other state or nation determines it no longer has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction or that Texas would be a more convenient forum, or a court determines that the child, the child’s parents and any person acting as a parent, do not presently reside in the other state or nation.

Modification Of Child Support

Courts do have the power to modify child support agreements, and any request to modify child support must be filed in the court that last entered the order regarding the children. Possible grounds for child support modification can vary, but the general rule is there must have been a significant change in circumstances for one of the parties or the child.

A significant raise for the paying parent, for example, would probably constitute a higher child support payment. It is also possible that other factors, such as a conviction for child abuse or family violence, could also lead to a child support modification.

Child support may also be modified when at least three years have passed since the last child support order. Child support may be modified in such cases when a new amount differs by either 20% or $100 from the amount that was originally ordered.

“We Fight For Meaningful Results To Protect Your Rights”

Ikaha M. Sparrow​

Texas Child Support Resources

Paying and Receiving Child Support – Texas Attorney General – Visit the Attorney General website to learn more about how to pay child support, how to receive child support, and how to get back on track. The website notes that while payments are not made via Child Support Interactive (CSI), it can still be your tool to view payment history, learn more information about your case, and keep your contact info updated. The CSI has a custodial parent login and noncustodial parent login, but it also allows you to apply for services, pay online, see important notices, and submit an attorney payment record request.

General Information | Child Custody and Support | Texas State Law Library – View this online guide to state law, books and other resources relating to child support in Texas. The Parent-Child Relationship section has links to specific sections of the Texas Family Code and also information about child custody and conservatorship, joint managing conservators’ rights, and responsibilities, and sole managing conservator and possessory conservator – rights and responsibilities. The Original Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship section covers frequently asked questions and also has links to Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship” (SAPCR or sap-sir) forms. There are also multiple e-books.

Contact A Child Support Lawyer In Houston, TX Today

Are you being asked to pay too much child support, struggling to pay child support, or not receiving enough child support in Houston? You will want to contact The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, as soon as possible so we can immediately take the steps needed to ensure that you are able to get a more favorable child support agreement that better reflects the true nature of your situation.

Our firm will be able to answer all of your questions and help you understand all of your options when you call 281-973-0431 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are aware of how contentious these kinds of issues can be for parents, and The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, can work to help you find a resolution that gives you much needed relief.