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Child Support

If a parent qualifies under the Texas Family Code, they can petition for payments of child support from the other parent. In fact, the Texas Attorney General reserves the power to open a child support case even if neither parent has ever applied for services for a public benefit such as Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). If the child is under temporary or permanent conservatorship with the Department of Family and Protective Services, then the court may order both parents to pay for child support.

Any individual can petition for child support if they’re the parent of the child or have legal, physical custody or conservatorship of the child. Even the child themselves can request child support from the court if they are 18 years or older and are capable of managing their own personal finances. Failure to pay child support in time could result in apprehension by law enforcement. The court does allow non-custodial parents to request a dismissal of support payments or a modification if a major life event has occurred and impacted their ability to provide compensation for payments.

Houston Child Support Lawyer, TX | Harris County & Montgomery County

Whether you’re petitioning for support or requesting modification/termination, contact Horak Law.  There are many factors used to determine who pays child support and the payment amount is calculated by set elements in the Texas Family Code. This information can be extremely complicated, so it’s best to hire an experienced family law attorney like Matthew Horak to represent you and your interests.

Call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 to schedule your first consultation or simply submit an online contact form. Horak Law has offices in Houston and The Woodlands, but we accept clients throughout the State of Texas including Fort Bend County, Liberty County, Waller County, Montgomery County, Harris County, Galveston County, and Brazoria County.

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Calculation of Child Support in Texas

The State of Texas utilized the percentage of income model when calculating the amount of child support a parent owes monthly. The court will take into account the parent’s monthly net income and then apply a percentage of that income to total the child support. This evidence can be obtained by using past-years income tax returns, financial statements, as well as current pay stubs. Parents who fail to provide adequate documentation will be obligated to pay support based on a standard 40 hours workweek with minimum wage pay.

Income liable to child support payments includes, but is not limited to:

  • Rental income
  • Capital gains
  • Severance
  • Wages, salary, or any other income including tips, overtime, and bonuses
  • Self-employed income
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Disability or worker’s compensation benefits
  • Any child support received from another open family law case
  • Retirement and/or pension
  • Dividends or interest

The required child support net income percentage increases based on the number of shared minor children the parent had with their ex-spouse. These percentage increases include:

  • One child = 20%
  • Two children = 25%
  • Three children = 30%
  • Four children = 35%
  • Five children = 40%
  • Six children or more = No less than 40%

If the parent’s income is not enough to meet the child support payment, then the court will subtract the total child support amount off their available net income. The court will instead allocate what is left between the two parties to ensure the child’s needs are met adequately.

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How Long Do I Have to Pay Child Support in Texas?

Under the Texas Family Code Section 154.001, a parent may be court ordered to pay child support until the child has turned 18 years old or has graduated high school. Children may be exempt, however, from child support if they are married or pass away. If the parent with physical, legal custody remarries, then the child support order will also be terminated.

Parents of disabled children are obligated to pay child support indefinitely. In order for this type of order to occur, the disability must have been known to exist before the child is 18. The payment amount may change after the child is 18, but that is dependent on the cost of the child’s disability and the decision of the court.

If a parent dies before they pay the full child support amount, then their estate’s funds may be utilized. In some cases, the court will require the paying parent to carry a life insurance policy in case they die, and that policy must include the child as their beneficiary.

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Additional Resources

Child Support Division | TAG– Visit the official website for the Texas Attorney General to read more about their child support division page. Access the page to see it offers an online portal for custodial and noncustodial parents to make their payment submissions easier. Within the website, you can also find helpful checklists for the information you need to get the child support process started in Texas.  

Child Support Laws in Texas – Visit the official website for the Texas Family Code to learn more about their chapter on Child Support. Access the site to learn more about court ordered child support, how to petition for support, what’s required to qualify, child support after the person has turned 18, and what terminates child support in Texas.

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Texas Child Support Attorney | Houston & The Woodlands

Managing child support and the legal process behind it can be complicated for someone not entirely familiar with the Texas Family Code. That is why we highly encourage you to contact Horak Law for any matters pertaining to child support. Matthew Horak and his legal team represent both debtor parents and those petitioning for child support. We have assisted parents with modifications, terminations, and deviations off the child support schedule. To learn more about us, call our office today at (713) 225-8000.

You can also submit an online contact form to set up your first consultation. Horak Law has offices in both Houston and The Woodlands.

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  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization | Criminal Law
  • National College for DUI Defense
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Laywers
  • Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
  • Matt Horak has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer Legion