Houston Child Support Attorney in Texas
A Houston child support lawyer is vital to winning the fight for custody and support of your children in family court. At Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors at Law, our child support attorneys in Houston, TX are well-versed in how Texas family law works and know how to get the best outcome possible for your child support case.
If you need help with child support issues, give our Houston attorneys a call today. Our Houston family law firm has over 30 years of experience helping parents successfully obtain child support awards and enforce support orders in the Houston area and more communities in Texas. Schedule a consultation today to get started!
Why do I need a Houston child support attorney?
Every child has the right to receive support from their parents. Whether their parents are divorced, legally separated, or together, every parent has the responsibility to provide and support the development and growth of their child. Texas state laws encourage parents, even divorced parents, to cooperate with each other and to support their children. Our Houston child support lawyer can help ensure that your child’s best interests are always put first in every decision made.
What are child support payments for?
In Texas, child support should be enough to cover the child’s basic needs, which include clothing, food, shelter, and other living expenses. Support payments could also be used for daycare and schooling expenses, transportation and travel expenses, and extracurricular activities that help in nurturing the child.
The amount of child support required from each parent will depend on their salary and other sources of income and how much time they spend with their children. Both parents, even if they’re not legally married, have a financial obligation to the child.
Usually, the parent with child custody (custodial parent) would have to pay less for child support, while the non-custodial parent usually pays more. Sometimes, the court would also “impute” income to a parent if they try to avoid paying for child support, especially when they can actually earn more than what they are currently earning.
What are the Texas Child Support Guidelines?
Under federal law (45 CFR § 302.56), all states must have an established guideline on how to calculate child support payments. Both parents have the responsibility to provide for their children, and these child support guidelines calculate how much each parent is required to pay.
What are the factors considered in determining Texas child support?
There are different factors which a family court must consider when calculating child support. In general, these include items such as:
- The child’s basic needs such as food, education, and health checkups
- The income and needs of the custodial parent
- The non-custodial parent’s income and ability to provide financial support
- The child’s standard of living prior to the separation or divorce
How does the court determine who needs to pay support?
Before the court can make a decision regarding child support arrangements, both parents are usually required to fill out forms that would indicate the parent’s financial capabilities. In the financial statement, both parties must include their monthly income and expenses.
Will my kids be able to maintain the standard of living prior to the parents’ separation?
When a court decides on child support, it will usually consider the family’s standard of living prior to the divorce or separation of parents, and will usually try to maintain this standard for the children. However, maintaining two homes on the same income level that previously supported only one household can be difficult, so the court would try to make realistic decisions to meet realistic goals.
How much child support do I need to pay?
The monthly salary and income of both parents are used to determine how much is needed to pay for child support. In Texas, there are child support guidelines that need to be followed, and a child support calculator that would help parents to assess how much they need to pay. A Houston child support lawyer can provide you legal assistance and help you calculate child support.
Who pays for child support in Houston?
In Texas, physical custody (the parent living with the child) will determine who has to fulfill the obligation of supporting the child and paying child support. Usually, only the non-custodial parent would have to pay child support, although both parents could be ordered by the court to financially support the child.
The child support payment will be based on the non-custodial parent’s salary and income which will be calculated using the child support guidelines in Texas. A Houston child support lawyer can help you understand how child support works and help you calculate the fees you or your ex would have to pay.
Can I pay more than the required amount for child support?
While parents can choose to give more than the amount that is required of them, they can’t pay less than the amount mandated by the court.
However, the family court may review the case and adjust the required amount of child support to pay. This can occur:
- If the calculations after using the guidelines were unfair, or
- If there’s a significant change in the financial situation of either parent.
If you wish to request an adjustment for your child’s support orders, you can reach out to your Houston family lawyer to file a modification of order in the county where the current order was made.
How is child support calculated in Houston?
Child support calculation in Texas is a fairly simple process. All you have to do is determine the noncustodial parent’s net income by taking into account all available income, then subtracting specific expenses, which are indicated below.
What is gross income?
When calculating child support, your income would include your salary, wages, commissions, tips, overtime, bonuses, and even military pay. Even when you’re unemployed, you’d probably still have other sources of income such as severance pay, retirement, Social Security, or unemployment benefits.
Your gross income would also include gifts and alimony. If you receive income from a rental unit or property, then you should also add that as well.
If you’re currently unemployed and have no source of income, the court puts an income value on certain assets even when they don’t currently produce any income. If an asset can be liquidated (such as if you received a house as an inheritance) then the court may consider its price as part of your income.
Additionally, if you’re purposely underemployed or unemployed to circumvent the law and avoid your obligation of child support payments, then the court will impute income to you based on what you should be earning.
How do I get the net income?
After you have determined your gross income, you need to deduct the following in order to get your net income:
- Social Security contributions or any retirement plan payments
- Income tax (federal)
- Health insurance and other health expenses for the children
- Union dues
Once you have your net income, you need to divide it by 12 to get your monthly net income. To help you determine your net income, it is best to seek the legal help of an experienced Houston child support lawyer.
If you’re already paying child support for other children, the court will subtract these payments from your monthly net income before the guidelines are applied. Our legal team at Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors at Law will help you understand how to calculate child support and get you an accurate estimate of how much support will be paid.
Will the number of children I support affect how much I pay?
Once your monthly net income is established, you need to multiply that number by a percentage which depends on the number of children you’ll be supporting.
- 1 child = net income multiplied by 20%
- 2 children = net income multiplied by 25%
- 3 children = net income multiplied by 30%
- 4 children = net income multiplied by 35%
- 5 children = net income multiplied by 40%
- For 6 children or more, the payment must at least be equal to the amount for five children.
Still not sure how to calculate for child support? Determining child support can be overwhelming and confusing. At Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors at Law, our Houston child support lawyers provide quality legal service to help you avoid making mistakes when calculating child support. Schedule a consultation with us for more information.
Are there other factors that affect how much support needs to be paid?
Your support order amount can vary for a number of reasons, such as:
- Expenses for special or extraordinary circumstances regarding the education or healthcare of the child or of the parties.
- Spousal support, travel costs to maintain a relationship with their child, and other expenses that affect the parent’s ability to pay support.
- Other education expenses past age 18 after, if the child meets certain requirements or is enrolled in a qualified education institution or program.
If you have a special arrangement for child custody and visitation, this can also affect your child support obligations. To get a better understanding of how your circumstances might affect your support order, schedule a consultation with our Houston child support attorney to discuss your situation.
When does child support end in Texas?
Under Texas family code, a parent is only required to pay child support until the child turns 18 or until they graduate from high school, whichever happens later. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as:
- If you have arrearages or unpaid child support.
- If your child has a disability that requires continued care even after turning 18.
Get in Touch with a Houston Child Support Lawyer!
If you are looking for legal assistance with your support order, give us a call today. Our Houston child support attorney will help you:
- Understand your rights and your kids’ rights and know how to protect it.
- Answer any questions you have about the child support order calculation and process.
- Collect all documents and evidence needed to support your case.
- Assist you in calculating child support and modifying child support agreements.
- Provide legal assistance getting your court order and legal representation if your support case goes to court.
- Guide you every step of the way and help you avoid making any mistakes that will affect your case.
Chargois Harper Attorneys and Counselors at Law also offers legal services for family law matters, child support enforcement, probate cases, probate litigation, trust litigation, and other estate planning matters. We have offices in Houston, Texas and Oak Lawn, Illinois.
You can count on us to protect your interests and resolve your legal concerns in Texas & Illinois.
You can count on us to protect your interests and resolve your legal concerns in Texas & Illinois.
11999 Katy Freeway #506
Houston, TX 77079
4647 W. 103rd Street, Oak Lawn Illinois 60453
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