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Child support is what one parent pays to the other parent for the support and benefit of their child. The parents do not ever have to have been married. If parentage is contested paternal testing may be ordered by the court.
How is child support calculated in Texas?
There are a number of factors that the court looks at when determining whether to order child support and how much to order.
- How much each parent has the child according to the child custody and visitation schedule
- How much money the parent to pay child support makes per month
- The number of children the parent to pay child support is responsible for supporting, even if from another relationship and
- What is the in the best interest of the child.
There are several types of custody and visitation arrangements. The most common is joint custody. However, joint custody does not necessarily mean that each parent has the child an equal amount of time. In situations where each parent does have the child an equal amount of time the child support may be zero as each parent takes care of the expenses while in his or her care. However, more commonly one parent has the child most of the time and the other parent has visitation with the child. In these cases child support is generally awarded to the parent that has the child the majority of the time.
Child support is generally based on the monthly earnings of the non-custodial parent. The court then looks at how many children that parent has the responsibility to support from this relationship as well as previous relationships. There is a schedule the court may use in a standard situation and an experienced divorce lawyer can help you determine what that amount is likely to be.
Child support once ordered can be modified at anytime. Many things can change, such as income earned by the responsible parent, and those factors can be reconsidered by the court and a new child support amount ordered. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you determine what is the best way to determine if there has been a sufficient change that would necessitate modification of child support.
For most children the child support continues until the child reaches the age of eighteen and has completed high school. However, child support can continue beyond this age if the child has a disability. These can be very complicated cases and an experienced divorce lawyer should be consulted to look at the particular facts in your case to give you appropriate advice.
To file for child support you would need to file a Motion for Child Support. The court will permit some discovery so that the factors needed for determination are made and the parties are required to disclose certain information in this regard. If paternity is contested then the court will order testing to determine parentage. The court will then have a hearing upon which the court will consider these factors and enter an award of child support if warranted.
Filing for modification is not much different in that a Motion for Modification would need to be filed and then some discovery and disclosures will occur. The court will then have a hearing and make a determination if child support should be modified. If the court denies it then the current child support order stays in place. If the court orders that child support be modified there will be a new order signed and filed with the court and it will control from that time forward.
At The Law Office of Julie Johnson, PLLC, our divorce attorneys are skilled at calculating child support, modifying child support orders, and enforcing child support orders. Contact our office today for an evaluation of your case.