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Child Support

On June 29, 2013

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A child support order may be initially rendered in a Divorce or a Suit to Establish the Parent-Child Relationship, which is a custody case between unmarried parties. Below is list of frequently asked questions about child support.

How much will child support be?

Child support is determined based on the income of the parent paying support. Child support is calculated by taking that parent’s gross monthly income, subtracting social security taxes, federal income taxes for a single person claiming one deduction, union dues, and health insurance coverage for the child. This amount is the parent’s net income.

The Court then sets child support as a percentage of the net income based on the number of children the parties have together.

  • 1 Child 20%
  • 2 Children 25%
  • 3 Children 30%
  • 4 Children 35%

These percentages are made with the assumption that the payor does not have other minor children for whom they provide support. If so, the percentages will be lower depending on the number of other children the payor supports.

What if I need to change my child support?

The amount of child support may be changed at a later date if the circumstances of the parents or children have changed. To change a child support order it is necessary to file a lawsuit called a Motion to Modify. The legal standard for the Court to modify child support is met when there has been a “material and substantial” change in the circumstances of the child, one of the parents, or it has been three years since the last child support order or agreement to pay child support and child support would increase or decrease by $100 or 20%, whichever is less.

How is child support paid?

In most cases, child support is paid through wage withholding, where child support is taken directly from the pay of the child support payor by their employer. The money is sent through the State Disbursement Unit, which is an entity set up by the State of Texas to track the date and amount of child support. Funds received by the State Disbursement Unit are then forwarded to the parent who receives support.

Enforcement of Child Support

If a parent does not pay child support, a lawsuit called a Motion for Enforcement may be filed. If the Court finds that a parent has not paid child support, and that parent does not have a valid defense, then the Court may fine or jail the nonpaying parent. The maximum punishment is six months in jail and a $500 fine per violation. The Court may also put the parent on probation subject to the future payment of support.

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