Child Support Lawyers in San Antonio
Dedicated, Compassionate Counsel from Calfas Law Group
Child support is a critical determination necessary to the divorce process and an important arrangement for unmarried parents, as well. At Calfas Law Group, we have assisted countless clients with child support issues and made sure that the court had all the information it needed to make a fair and suitable decision for all parties. If you and your co-parent are facing a child support concern, it is advised that you both speak to an experienced San Antonio child support attorney today.
How Child Support Is Determined
Texas is a guidelines-oriented child support state. Generally, the courts use a formula to determine current and future child support obligations. This formula calculates the guideline child support amount as a percentage of an obligor’s net resources.
To calculate net resources you take total income minus:
- Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes paid by the obligor
- Federal income tax
- If the obligor lives in a state that collect state income tax, deduct those
- Union dues if any
- Health insurance payments or cash medical support paid by the obligor
The next element to determine child support is the total number of children the obligor has, and the total number of children PRESENTLY before the court on that specific case. (Example, if obligor has five children from three different mothers and the current case involves only one child, apply the formula for one of five children).
If the court is dealing with one family alone, the calculations tend to be:
- One child - 20% of income
- Two children - 25% of income
- Three children - 30% of income
- Four children - 35% of income
- Five children - 40% of income
- Six children - No Less Than 40% of income
People can often get worked up, demanding increases or decreases to current child support orders. However, before the current orders can be changed, the party asking to change the orders must show a “significant change in circumstances.”
The law assumes that after several years the situation is ready to be reviewed for a possible increase/decrease. However, you can come to court sooner if you can show a change in employment status, income, health, marriage status, age of child or changed needs of the child.
It’s important to know the intimate details of your situation to know how to best defend or attack these claims. You need to know the best approach to get the best results. For example, outside agreements made or said between the parties will often not be enforceable by the court or the other party. The only orders that you know are enforceable by contempt and the court and one entered in the court in writing. It is so important to make sure you get this done right the first time because cleaning up these mistakes later can be difficult to impossible.
Challenging the Amount of Support
If you feel that your child support order is unfair or does not serve the child’s best interests, you may be eligible to challenge the amount. While a court will assume that the initial guidelines are fair, sometimes circumstances change and need to reflect the current order.
By challenging your order, the court will analyze all relevant factors including:
- All expenses of the child such as healthcare, education, clothing, etc.
- The parents financial, emotional, and physical ability to support the child
- All financial resources and debts acquired
- Past and current wage deductions
- Cash flow from current or prospective assets
- The age of the child
- Cost of travel for the child when visiting each parent
While most child support orders are modified due to substantial changes in circumstances, there are other reasons that can hold enough weight in court. It is important to discuss your situation with our attorneys further so that we can walk you through all of your options.
Does Child Support Stop at 18 in Texas?
Texas children typically remain eligible for child support until they are 18 or graduate high school, whichever comes later. Of course, there are cases in which the support could be extended, or even terminated early.
Child support payments could end before a child graduates or turns 18 if:
- The child dies
- The child gets married
- The child joins the military on active duty
- The child is otherwise emancipated
Child support could continue beyond a child’s graduation or 18th birthday if:
- The parents have a clause in their divorce or child support agreement to extend support through college
- The child has a medical condition and requires extra care
If you suspect that your child support obligation is ending soon, you must take the appropriate steps to terminate the agreement. You cannot stop paying without completing and filing the appropriate forms. Our lawyers will help you identify and submit the necessary paperwork.
You should typically file the request 45 days before the last scheduled child support payment.
Once your child support obligation is effectively terminated, you no longer have to send payments. However, if you have any outstanding arrears, these must be repaid, even if your obligation to contribute additional amounts has ended.
Contempt, Enforcement, & Defense
Debtors’ prisons are illegal now in the United States. The days of owing people money and being thrown into jail if you cannot pay these debts are almost all but nonexistent. However, child support under chapter 153 of the Texas Family Code and spousal maintenance under Chapter 8 of the Texas Family Code are exceptions.
In Texas, if a party is properly noticed and ordered to pay one or both of these obligations and fails to meet these requirements, they can be ordered by the court to pay up to $500 for each violation and/or up to 180 days in county jail for each violation.
Have more questions? Interested to hear what our team of advocates can do for you and your family? Calfas Law Group is ready to hear from you. Call 210-405-8315 today.