The dual incomes of both parents provide structure to raising children. However, the division of property after a divorce can greatly impact both parents separately. The parent with possession of the child will often be saddled with additional expenses, many of which they often cannot cover. Many times, the possessory parent did not have a job prior to the divorce and has to take a job in order to make ends meet and provide for the child. Child support agreements help ease this burden and provide for the well-being of the child.
Child Support Obligations
Texas has set laws in place which require a non-possessory parent to provide for monthly child support payments to the possessory parent, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. The child support obligations are dictated based on the income of the non-possessory parent, and are very specifically outlined within the Texas Family Code. Child support is entered into by both parties through an agreement, which is based on the child’s best interests.
Child support obligations will continue until one of the following occurs (as dictated in the child support order):
- The child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school (whichever occurs first);
- The death of the child;
- The child is emancipated through marriage or through law.
Child support may continue indefinitely in situations where the child is disabled.
Child support is determined based on the paying parents’ ongoing monthly salary, which includes wages, dividends, net rental income, and severance payments. The amount which a parent will have to pay is contingent on the number of children covered under the child custody agreement, although will be capped at a set rate. The court will consider both the salary of the parent, as well as the ongoing needs of the child, which can include more than simply food and shelter, but can include allowances, car payments, and other school-related expenses as mandated by the court. Health insurance payments will often be kept separate of child support agreements.
Child support is dictated through the state and therefore child support payments should not be sent directly to the other parent, but instead should be sent to the state disbursement unit to ensure that you are kept up to date on ongoing payments.
Retroactive Child Support
While child support obligations are often part of a dissolution of marriage, child support obligations can attach in any situation, including those which occur after paternity suits. A rebuttable presumption exists that retroactive child support should be limited to an amount due under state guidelines for the four years prior to the filing of a child support petition. However, a court will consider all facts and circumstances of the situation, including whether the mother of the child made any prior attempts to notify the father of presumed paternity.
Malley Law Firm | Houston Child Support Attorney
If you are in the process of settling a child support agreement, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of the Malley Law Firm. Child support obligations are not final documents, but can be difficult to modify once they are agreed to by both parties, and it is therefore important to agree to adequate terms from the onset. Contact our Houston or Beaumont offices today for your initial free consultation.