Child Support

10 posts

Texas Paternity FAQ

Texas Paternity FAQ

Frequently Asked Legal Questions About Paternity in Texas There are a lot of questions about paternity in Texas that get asked regularly.  We wanted to save people a little bit of googling and try answer as few of the most common ones in one place.  This guide to the frequently asked legal questions about paternity in Texas is meant to aid you but not to replace the role of an attorney. Define Paternity For Me? When a baby is born and there are questions about the father, you seek to establish paternity.  Paternity is, therefore, the legal identification of who the father of a child is.  This process is typically done through genetic matching of the child’s DNA to the father’s DNA. Is Paternity Testing Only Performed On Babies? While paternity testing is typically performed on babies it has been used to test kids of any age.  This helps to establish who the father is no matter what the situation is. Can You Force A Paternity Test? The short answer is yes, you can force a paternity test.  To do this you need to petition the court for a court ordered paternity test.  This order can also include conditions for what […]

Texas Primary Custody

Deciphering Texas Primary Custody

Does Primary Custody Exist? Usually a misnomer due to its frequency in popular culture, “primary custody” is not an actual legal term recognized in Texas. Texas courts will typically appoint both parents as “joint managing conservators” or “JMCs” for their children, and what people commonly refer to as “primary custody” tracks most closely with the party who is granted an exlusive right to determine “primary residency” of the child. To better understand this concept, I find it helpful to think about all the different rights and duties of a parent as strands of a rope. Prior to court involvement, all those rights and duties are “together” unified with both parents. Both parents have the full complement of rights and duties at all times, and neither parent has any authority to stop the other from exercising those rights, or conversely the obligation to take any particular action in regards to the child. There are pros and cons to this situation, but the main downside, and the one that the court most specifically tries to address, is that in the event of a disagreement there is no clear way to make a decision or to break a tie. If parents are on […]

A Quick Guide to Divorce

Texas Divorce Overview

  Texas Divorce Overview   Everyone іѕ fаmіlіаr wіth the wоrd dіvоrсе but dоеѕ not know thе technicalities about it. It is іmроrtаnt thаt wе should bе able tо knоw things about dіvоrсе аnd whаt are thе thіngѕ thаt wе ѕhоuld соnѕіdеr about when people аrоund us or ѕресіfісаllу uѕ іnѕtеаd are planning tо еngаgе into thіѕ kіnd оf situation. Yоu ѕhоuld fіrѕt know whаt rеаllу dіvоrсе іѕ tо have a dеереr perception about this dіѕеаѕе іn thе community that іѕ not only ruіnіng thе lives оf the husband and wіfе but аlѕо thе реорlе thаt аrе іnvоlvеd in thе marriage, tоо. Aссоrdіng tо Wikipedia, “Dіvоrсе (оr the dіѕѕоlutіоn оf mаrrіаgе) іѕ the fіnаl termination of a mаrіtаl union, саnсеllіng the lеgаl dutіеѕ аnd responsibilities оf mаrrіаgе аnd dissolving the bonds оf mаtrіmоnу bеtwееn thе раrtіеѕ.” It is іmроrtаnt that we ѕhоuld bе able tо know thаt dіvоrсе іѕ not just mеrе breaking up but also hаvіng a permanent separation with the person thаt уоu have married. A divorce fоllоwѕ a ѕеt of court hеаrіng іn which they would dіѕсuѕѕ all thе thіngѕ thаt a mаrrіаgе controls, from thе kids to the fіnаnсеѕ would bе a ѕubjесt mаttеr in a […]

Texas Child Support Net Resource

Texas Child Support Calculation

Child Support Monthly Net Resources I get a lot of people coming into my office confused about exactly what income counts for the purpose of determining child support. The answer is usually pretty much everything that can be proved as income counts for calculating child support, but there are a few limited exceptions to that. In order to determine the amount of child support under statutory guidelines, Texas law applies a percentage formula to the “monthly net resources” of one parent or conservator ( the “obligor”). The percentage changes based on the number of children involved starting at 20% for the first child, and increasing by 5% per child after that until the maximum value. That part is simple enough, however the monthly net resource number to multiple that percent by is a little bit more complicated for a variety of reasons. Child Support Income Inclusions In general, your child support monthly net resources are the sum of all sources of income or assets from which income could be derived in a given year. Thus, “net resources” includes your salary, wages, tips, commissions, overtime pay, bonuses or any other compensation received for your personal services. This “net resources” calculation applies […]

Texas Child Support Guidelines

Texas Child Support Guidelines

Child support calculations are one of those areas that people end up very confused about, leading to a wide variety of various calculators and tools for the purpose of determining what the guideline amount of child support should be set by the court. For the vast majority of cases, child support is calculated strictly according to this formula, and effectively is just a math equation to determine the amount owed each month. However, there are some rare occasions where the guideline amount of child support is not an appropriate amount, and in those situations the court does some some authority to deviate from traditional child support guidelines. It is important to be aware of all the different factors the court uses in determining the amount of child support owed as the “obligor.”  Although the amount of child support based on the statutory percentage applied to an obligor’s monthly net resources is a presumption, the court has discretion to vary from the Texas statutory  guidelines, upwards or downwards, based on relevant factors. These factors are known as “the best interest of the child factors” and the court’s discretion in deviation from the statutory guidelines is broad and considers the totality of […]

Child Support Withholding

How to Understand An Order/Notice to Withhold Income

If you have received an “Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support,” you must not disregard the document. This notice should be handled immediately as a Texas employer who knowingly fails to withhold court-ordered child support may be subject to a $200 fine for each pay period during which it failed to withhold income and remit child support to the appropriate agency. Additionally,  under Section 158.206 of the Texas Family Code, the employer who complies with the Order/Notice is not liable to the employee. However, as an employer it is imperative that you check your payroll records because Texas law mandates that you may not withhold more than 50% of your employee’s “disposable earnings.” Disposable earnings are the part that remains after mandatory deductions for medicare, federal income taxes, social security, union dues, nondiscretionary retirement contributions, and medical/hospitalization/disability insurance coverage for the employee and the employee’s children. There is a possibility that the Order/Notice could incorrectly exceed that amount and in that case seek guidance from your trusted family law attorney or another professional in human resources. Additionally, issues holding up a withholding order does not absolve the obligee from their responsibility to pay in the meantime. It is ultimately the […]

Child Support and Debtor's Prisons

Time limitations on enforcement of child support arrears

Many people assume that the attorney general stops enforcing child support arrears when the child turns 18. Often, however, this is not the case, and can lead to some scary situations for people who are unprepared. In Texas, the law states that the court maintains their jurisdiction for up to 2 years after the obligation ends. That means that an enforcement action can be filed well after the actual child support obligation ends, and even further than that, the action itself can stretch years longer. I just argued a case recently where an enforcement action was filed barely within the 2 year deadline, but they were not able to serve the non-custodial parent for almost another 2 years. This meant that I was in front of a judge arguing for why my client should not be sent to jail for repayment of a debt to a parent with whom the child no longer lived, and did not support the child in any way. The silver lining for my client was that he was determined to be fully disabled and was on veteran’s disability and the judge refrained from enforcing a jail sentence, but it was a scary situation for my […]

Child support issues

Paying Child Support for Someone Else’s Child?

Michigan man Carnell Alexander owes the state $30k in child support for a child that is not his after his ex-girlfriend named him on state financial assistance forms in 1987. The state requires that a father be listed so that the state can track down the father to reimburse the state for the financial assistance.   Unfortunately for Alexander and other men in similar situations, the state does not require any proof to be provided when naming the father on forms. Instead, the responsibility is passed to the person named to then prove that they are not that person. The state sends a summons and the person named must appear at that time.   Many people are unaware of the importance of appearing in court when summoned. In cases regarding child support and paternity, failure to appear results in a default judgment and the person named is then legally responsible as the father.   Mr. Alexander, however, can prove that he never received the summons as he was in jail at the time. The process server delivered the letter to a relative instead of directly to him. The state also sent following letters to an address where he no longer […]

Child Support and Debtor's Prisons

Child Support and Debtor’s Prisons

A friend of mine asked me the other day which type of cases I found most emotionally draining. I had to think about it for a minute, but I eventually came to the conclusion that while termination cases can be heart wrenching at times, and divorces can be full of drama, it was my experiences in IV-D (Child support) court trying to defend against enforcement actions that often were the most DIFFICULT for me emotionally. The reason for this is twofold: First, there is the lack of defense. Believe it or not, I chose to be a lawyer because I want to help people with their problems, and finding defenses for clients defending against the state in child support actions basically amounts to begging for leniency most of the time. That is not to say that it isn’t successful, but the best defenses are somewhat based around the idea that sending people to jail rarely gathers more money, so therefore its best to leave people in the free so that they can work. The actual statutory defense of “inability to pay”, which is the actual reason 99 percent of people aren’t paying, is virtually impossible to prove as an affirmative defense […]

Statutory rape victim forced to pay child support

Forced Child Support for Rape Victims

The purpose of child support is to ensure that a child is taken care of. This is a social value that tracks from the idea that all children are inherently innocent (true) and thus deserve to be supported even if it creates hardships for the parents. However, some situations create results that are so egregious that this philosophy NEEDS to be altered. Take for example, the case of Nick Olivas. At the age of 14, he was statutorily raped by a 20 year old woman who later became pregnant and had his child. 10 years later at the age of 24, he was served with a lawsuit demanding child support for a daughter he had no idea even existed. There seem to be TONS of issues with this: First, is whether or not the state should be helping to enforce ADDITIONAL consequences on the victim of a sex crime. If that language sounds harsh, good, because that’s how I view the situation. A long time ago, in regards to women, we moved past the idea that it’s acceptable to force victims of sex crimes to deal with the consequences of the non-consensual pregnancy. It used to be the case that women could […]