Child Protective Services (CPS) has taken your child and placed them in foster care. This could be due to imprisonment or the serious medical issues of a parent. You don’t even get to see your child. Continuing to pay child support can place a heavy burden on one or both parents. Can you stop paying child support in this case?
The answer is no. You can be required to continue making your child support payments even if your child is in foster care but your payments will be directed to the state.
Why You Have To Pay Child Support For A Child In Foster Care
State laws recognize that biological parents have the obligation to provide for the child. In typical divorce cases, the court would require the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent. This includes payment for any medical and dental costs not covered by insurance.
Just because your children are in foster care does not mean you can avoid your obligations. You can still be required to pay support to the state. This is to reduce the burden of using taxpayer money to fund the costs of supporting children in foster care.
You must pay the amount stated in your child support orders for as long as the child remains in foster care. Social services may only return the child to you when it deems you fit to support the child. You may have to meet conditions such as seeking medical treatment. Alternatively, you may also need to show that you can be responsible for your children. Alternatively, your children may be adopted by other families. Your child support obligations also cease once your children reach the age of majority.
Reducing or Removing Child Support Payments
In some cases, you may be able to ask to reduce your monthly child support paid to the state while your child is in foster care. If you need to spend money to improve the living environment for the child’s benefit, you may have a case to ask for a reduction.
The other way to remove child support obligations is to have the children returned to you. You can also obtain placement of the child if the child was originally under the physical custody of the other parent. The father or mother would then have the obligation to pay you child support under court orders to provide for the needs of the child.
Normally, a state court judge can calculate child support based on the presumption that a parent can earn minimum wage for a 40-hour workweek if they are not working. If the parent is underemployed or intentionally unemployed, the judge may determine the amount based on the parent’s earning potential. Note that the Texas Family Code states that these conditions do not apply if the parent is in prison for more than 90 days.
Consequences of Not Following A Child Support Order
If you have been ordered to pay child support, but do not meet your child support obligation, there can be severe consequences. The other person can ask state child support services to undertake child support enforcement actions that include license suspensions and salary withholding. You may also face criminal charges in court. Enforcement agencies can file a lien against your property. Your federal income tax refund can be withheld and directed towards child support. Enforcement actions apply even if you move out of state under federal law.
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Many families with children in foster care struggle with making their child support obligations. Get more information about your legal options to reduce your obligations while you work to get your children back.
Our family law experts at Sean Lynch Law with decades of experience can help. If you have any questions, contact us for a no-cost review.
Your ex is moving to another state. You fear that you might not be able to get them to pay up the child support they already owe. Fortunately, there is a federal act that requires all states to uphold a child support court order when a non-custodial parent relocates to their state.
A parent relocation also often requires the court to change custody and visitation orders. This is to reflect the change in visitation schedules for the non-custodial parent and the parenting time the custodial parent has with the child. A custody order may also contain domicile restrictions that protect the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent and allow the children to spend time equally with either parent. The court may also change child support amounts as part of a relocation.
Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA)
The UIFSA protects parents who need to collect interstate child support. It gives a state the right to enforce a child support order issued in that state even though the non-custodial parent may have moved away. UIFSA also outlines procedures that allow the state where the order was issued to send a withholding notice to the new state. This states the amount, frequency, and duration of child support. It will also state any amounts of child support owed and other specifications relating to the payment.
Out-of-State Enforcement of Child Support Orders
You or your attorney can file a motion to enforce a child support order across state borders. The court in the other jurisdiction can enforce child support arrears by requiring employers to withhold part of the parent’s paycheck to meet their obligations. This applies even though the parent is no longer in the state where the original child support order was issued.
While there are criminal penalties for parents who do not meet their child support obligations, in many circumstances it is more difficult to file criminal charges in another county or state. Your lawyer or law firm will have to file the criminal charges in the state courts where the existing orders were issued. The other parent must appear in court or be extradited for the case.
Locating Your Ex
If you are having trouble locating your ex, you can use parent locator services. These are available from your local Child Support Enforcement Agency or your state. Your state will contact the other state that you believe your ex has moved to.
The Child Support Enforcement Agency often has access to more data and resources to locate your ex. This includes new hire data, change of address information for driver’s licenses, and credit bureau data that the agency can use to locate your ex.
Once you’ve found the other parent’s new address, you can now contact them and proceed with legal action.
Modification of a Child Support Order
Any case for the legal modification of child support orders must be filed in the court that issued them. The only exception is if both parents move to a new jurisdiction. This provides the courts in the new jurisdiction the right to change the orders. The parent that is seeking to modify the legal orders should file the case to modify the orders in their new state.
In many cases, a relocation will require a modification of child support orders to establish new visitation and access schedules. The parent with primary physical custody may also request additional child support from the parent moving to another state.
Relocation will also affect geographic or domicile restrictions. If one parent decides to move to another state, the need for the current domicile restriction will be negated. Parents will need to decide if the restriction should stay in place. Alternatively, the custodial parent may now move to another state if they wish.
The legal process is much easier if parents are in agreement about the new arrangements. However, if parents cannot agree, they will hire a lawyer to present their case to a court judge.
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Need help with enforcing child support on an ex who is moving to another state? Let the award-winning Family Law experts at Sean Lynch help you prepare your legal case. We have decades of experience in family law.
When a baby is born to a married couple, there is a presumption that the husband is the legal father of the child. That gives him parental rights and responsibilities including child support. However, if you suspect that you are not the father, there are options for you. The Texas Family Code allows you to ask the court to end the parent-child relationship between you and the child under certain conditions. This will be a case to determine mistaken paternity when you have been ordered to pay child support but you believe that you are not the child’s genetic father.
You can exercise your rights to terminate the parental relationship with the child even if you signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity or had a judge establish paternity. The only condition is that you did not take a DNA test beforehand. You are still required to meet the existing child support obligations you still owe. However, you can terminate any future obligations to pay child support.
Challenging Child Support Obligations For Mistaken Paternity
File A Petition
You or your attorney can file the petition to the court asking the court to terminate the parent-child relationship. You will need to meet the legal requirements below.
You’re not the biological father of the child
You mistakenly concluded you were the biological father due to misrepresentation
You signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity or had a judge establish you as the legal father without first getting a paternity test. It is required to show that you did not contest parentage at the time because you mistakenly believed you were the biological father.
There was no legal adoption of your children on your part
You are not the intended father based on a gestational agreement validated by the court
You did not agree to assisted reproduction to conceive the child
The petition was filed within two years of the date you discovered the mistaken paternity
Attend Pretrial Hearing
You and your attorney will need to present your case about why there is a strong possibility that you are not the biological father of a child. If you can sufficiently call paternity into question, the Texas court may legally require you to take a paternity test.
Go For Genetic Testing
You will need to go for genetic testing with an accredited lab.
Attend Final Hearing
If the paternity test has established that you are not the genetic parent, the judge will sign a court order terminating the parent-child relationship. This will mean you need not pay future child support. However, you will still have to pay the child support obligation that you currently owe.
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A legal separation or divorce can be a very painful and lengthy, made complicated by calculations of child support obligations. Adding in the consideration of disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) can make SSI and child support issues even more difficult.
Here’s what you need to know about whether you need to pay child support for a child receiving Social Security benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Child Support Payments and the SSI Program
For children who receive both child support and SSI, the SSA will reduce children’s SSI benefits by two-thirds of the monthly child support payments. This is because the Social Security Administration counts two-thirds of the child’s child support payments as income when calculating benefits, and excludes the remaining one-third.
In many cases, a parent may be paying lifetime child support for children who are blind or disabled. The SSA would consider the entire child support that an adult child is receiving as income, which would further reduce their SSI benefits.
If you have a disabled adult child that received life-long child support payments, the calculation differs. In this instance, the SSA considers the total amount of child support payments as income, not two-thirds.
Ultimately, this means that the eligibility of your children for SSI would not reduce your obligations on its own. It would simply reduce the SSI benefit they receive.
In some cases, children may be receiving more child support than the income guidelines stated by the SSA. This would cause your children to lose their SSI benefit as they are no longer eligible.
Paying Child Support If You Are On SSI
Texas law does not consider SSI as income. Therefore, a parent will not have the obligation to pay monthly child support payments if they are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and it is their sole source of income.
Obtain a statement from the Social Security Administration stating that you receive Social Security benefits. If you were ordered to pay monthly child support payments prior to receiving SSI, your attorney could file a modification case to reduce your future child support obligations.
If you are receiving SSI payments, the authorities cannot garnish an SSI payment for any child support payment. Keep in mind that even if you are disabled and receive Social Security disability benefits, you are still responsible for any child support obligations as ordered by the courts.
What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a federal program directed by the Social Security Administration that provides monthly cash payments to blind or disabled individuals such as disabled children, or elderly people with low-income.
The eligibility criteria for SSI includes whether your income falls below the income limits of the SSI program. It’s important to note that income does not only include the money made from your job. It will also include the value of certain benefits you receive. For example, if your relative provides you with a free room, that will be counted as income.
No matter which state you live in (including Texas), the basic monthly SSI payments are $794 per person or $1,191 for a married couple. However, the amount you receive for SSI also depends on a person’s resources and income. Income can include:
Income from providing work or other services
Receiving payments from Social Security, pension alimony, veteran’s benefits, and child support
Free-rent or food benefits
A portion of the income earned by other members of your household
For the purposes of Social Security Income (SSI), resources are classified as anything you own that can be converted into cash. This can include the following:
Stocks and bonds
Impact of SSDI on Child Support
A child may receive derivative benefits due to a parent’s disability and low income. This means they receive additional income for their living expenses.
If your child receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, it will count towards income for the parent. If the SSDI benefits of the children derive from a non-custodial parent, the court will subtract the amount you receive from SSDI from the child support obligation.
It’s possible to receive SSDI and child support at the same time. However, a valid child support order from a legal separation can impact the total amount of benefits a child may be eligible for.
What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?
Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is a federal program that offers monthly cash benefits to disabled families and individuals who have a history of working.
To be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must have been employed by a job that is covered by Social Security for at least ten years. In addition, you must fall under their definition of disability. The individual must have a condition that severely affects their ability to perform work-related activities. Work-related activities include walking, lifting, standing, or sitting. Generally, most people fall into the criteria if they cannot work for a year or more.
For parents who receive SSDI benefits, your children may also be eligible for Social Security dependents benefits. If you receive approval for SSDI, you can apply for dependent child benefits. These can be credited towards your child’s support obligations. For example, you have to pay $600 per month for child support, and you are receiving $250 for your child’s dependent benefits. You would only be responsible for the $550 gap.
If you had accrued debt from child support after becoming disabled, dependent child benefits may also cover these arrearages.
Do I Have to Pay Child Support if My Child Gets SSI or SSDI?
SSI benefits received by disabled children are intended to supplement their income and are not a substitute. Receiving SSI or SSDI from the Social Security Administration does not impact a non-custodial parent’s obligation to pay child support.
Modifying Child Support Through The Courts
The state law governs child support, but federal authorities can also enforce child support. If there are changes to your child’s Social Security benefits and you would like to change the amount of child support you are ordered to pay as a non-custodial parent, you’ll have to go through a court procedure to file a modification case. If you have reduced income due to disability, you can also ask for a court hearing so you can make the case to reduce your child support payments.
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The purpose of child support is to meet the needs of a child including all medical expenses. Receiving and paying for child support becomes more complex when a child is disabled.
For a disabled child, the parent may receive a dependent disability allowance. This may boost the non-custodial parent’s ability to pay for child support.
How Long Do You Pay Child Support For A Disabled Child?
Under the Texas Family Code, parents have to support their child until the age of 18, or when the child graduates from high school and they are no longer a minor.
For disabled children, parents have the obligation to support their child indefinitely until either the child or the parent passes away. However, the courts will carefully consider the type of disability and what the disability does.
Typically the judge will order support for an adult child if they find that either:
the child had the disability or had special needs on or before turning 18 years old
the child must have substantial care and supervision and cannot support themselves financially, which will require the parents’ financial assistance
What Happens When A Disabled Child Turns 18?
Most Texas courts will determine that a parent has a duty to support their adult child who is disabled or has special needs, and is unable to support themselves.
The non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay indefinite child support in Texas if:
The special needs child requires personal supervision and substantial care because of a mental or physical disability. The child is also not capable of self-support.
The disability existed or was known to exist on or before the child’s 18th birthday
A parent or guardian who has custody of the child may seek a court order through a family law attorney in an attempt to pursue adult child support from the absentee parent. If the judge finds that the child should receive child support, the parent may continue to make payments. If deemed appropriate, the judge may order the parent to pay all child support payments directly to the other parent.
Under the Texas Family Code, the judge will use a needs-based assessment to calculate an appropriate amount of child support given. Before the judge can have a ruling on the adult child support order, they must consider the following:
The amount of support the child needs for their mental or physical disability.
The financial resources that both parents have to help an adult child.
The financial resources that are available for the care and supervision of adult child support.
If parents do not want to continue paying child support, they must prove to the court that the disabled or special needs child can live on their own and earn their own income. Information regarding the child’s life skills and work history may prove that they can live alone.
Do You Get More Child Maintenance for a Disabled Child?
You can usually get more child support for a disabled child or a child with special needs. A parent must provide evidence that their child has a disability to the judge or the child support agency in order to receive child support for their special needs child. Typically, school records and medical documents may be sufficient evidence. You can also use sworn statements about the child’s disabilities.
However, if any of your children are considered to be permanently disabled, they are also likely to be awarded additional financial support in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This provides income to cover their basic living expenses. When the dependent receives disability payments, this may reduce the non-custodial parent’s obligation to pay child support.
How is Child Support Calculated in Texas?
When calculating the child support obligation, the court will generally calculate the amount based on a parent’s net monthly income and the number of children for calculation.
The net monthly income is calculated by taking all gross income and then deducting costs such as taxes and health insurance expenses for your children.
The court will calculate child support using a percentage of your net monthly income, depending on the number of children involved. In Texas, the guidelines for the court to calculate child support obligation are:
One child: 20% of total net monthly income
Two children: 25% of total net monthly income
Three children: 30% of total net monthly income
Four children: 35% of total net monthly income
Five children: 40% of total net monthly income
Six children or more: at least 40% of total net monthly income or more
Receiving Medical Child Support in Texas
The legal system also needs to ensure that your child can receive proper health insurance. Many factors will be considered by the court to determine who will bear the majority of the cost of health insurance for a child who is disabled or who has special needs.
For example, the court usually looks at the quality and cost of health insurance. They will also consider whether any coverage is available at a reasonable cost through a trade association or a parent’s employer.
Can a Child Receive SSDI and Child Support at the Same Time?
Yes, it is possible. The child’s SSDI derivative benefit is included as income for the parent from whom they derive. If they are from the non-custodial parent, then the court will subtract the amount of benefit from the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation.
Can a Child Receive SSI and Child Support at the Same Time?
The SSI is a federal program designed to help the disabled. A child can receive both at the same time.
However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will reduce SSI benefits by two-thirds of the amount of child support received.
For an adult above the age of 18 or who has graduated high school, the SSA will consider the entire amount of child support as the child’s income. The child support received may exceed the SSA’s income guidelines which would mean the child loses SSI benefits.
That’s why having a special needs trust can be beneficial to yourself and your children. The court can have all future support payments go directly into the special needs trust. As a result, it will shelter your income and enable the beneficiary to retain SSI benefits.
Modifying a Child Support Order
The parent must provide evidence that there has been a sufficient change in circumstances to ask the family law courts for a legal modification. For example, if the adult disabled child can take care of themselves, the court may remove the obligations to cover child support provided that they are no longer a minor and at leats 18 yeras of age.
A court can also adjust future support owed if there are various factors in the case. This may be a change in the custody agreement, a relocation or a job loss.
Schedule Your No-Cost Legal Consultation
Family law issues in Texas can be complex. If you’re looking to receive support for a child with a disability or special needs or to understand your obligations regarding support for an adult child, it’s important to seek help from a qualified attorney.
Let the award-winning Family Law experts at Sean Lynch law firm help you prepare your legal case. We have years of experience in family law.
Child support normally includes the medical expenses of the child. While there may be health insurance coverage available to the child provided by a parent’s employer, the non-custodial parent may have to cover the cost of the child’s healthcare that is not covered under an insurance policy. In this article, we discuss your options for the enforcement of a child’s medical expenses under a Texas court order.
Uninsured medical expenses can include any deductibles, prescriptions, co-pays, and any adaptive devices. Adaptive devices include wheelchairs or hearing aids required by the child. If there are dental expenses or even optician expenses that an employer does not provide coverage for, they can also be considered uninsured medical expenses. This is on the basis that these expenses are medically necessary.
Who Is Responsible For Uninsured Medical Expenses?
Parents can allocate responsibility for medical costs in their divorce agreement, including the monthly premiums required for health insurance coverage. The court will consider the agreement and approve it if it is in the best interests of the child.
However, there are circumstances where the court may order that a parent does not have to provide payment toward medical bills of a child. For example, it might place undue hardship on one parent. Health insurance might also not be available at a reasonable cost. The Texas state court defines a reasonable cost for insurance coverage as a percentage of gross annual income. The costs cannot exceed 9 percent for health insurance and 1.5 percent for dental coverage.
The parents may not always share the costs for a child’s medical bill equally. Sometimes the court may order that one parent with more financial resources cover a greater portion of the payments.
According to the Texas Family Code, non-custodial parents are required to make payment for medical bills on top of the basic child support obligations. The medical support obligation for the children must be clearly stated within the divorce agreement in order for you to enforce the agreement in court.
Enforcement Of Child’s Unpaid Uninsured Medical Expenses
Firstly, you need to demonstrate that you have reached out to the other parent to ask them to pay within a certain time period. Your court order may indicate a notice period within which your ex has to make payment. If you have already paid, keep copies of the receipts and bills so that you can ask for a reimbursement. It’s best to also keep any communication with health insurers. This will show that the insurer paid their share of the uninsured medical expenses.
The other parent might disagree with the medical expenses incurred. For example, they may disagree with your decision to take your child to the doctor for a mild cold. The court will consider if the medical expenses are justified before determining if the other parent should also be responsible for the expense.
Legal Action To Enforce Uninsured Medical Expenses
Under law, you have to provide your ex with notice so they have time to respond before the court hearing. The court can order your ex to pay if the court determines that your ex is liable for the costs.
In some cases, you may also have a case to go to the small claims court. This is possible if you have already paid for your child’s medical expenses and the other parent does not want to pay and reimburse you. Your lawyer may be able to advise you on your options.
Contact Us For A No-Cost Case Review
If you need help seeking enforcement of a child’s medical expenses under a Texas court order, let the award-winning Family Law experts at Sean Lynch help you prepare your legal case. We have years of experience in family law and can answer your questions.
If you are a non-custodial parent, it means that you don’t have physical custody of your children. However, you have legal possession and access rights, including visitation. You may also still have legal custody which means that you participate in important decisions regarding your children.
The court order will, in many cases, also require the noncustodial parent to pay child support to help to provide for the needs of the children, including any medical and dental costs. The amount of support to pay will be determined by Texas child support guidelines if parents cannot agree.
Noncustodial parents who wish to ask the court to change the amount of monthly child support payments can seek the support of an attorney to review the existing court orders and help you build your case.
How Courts Determine Child Support In Texas
The Texas Family Code states general guidelines that the judge will consider when calculating child support for the non-custodial parent. The court will consider the net resources of non-custodial parents. This is calculated by taking the total income received by a non-custodial parent and subtracting health insurance premiums and other court-ordered expenses for the child, federal income tax, retirement contributions, union dues and Social Security taxes.
The child support amount will then be calculated as a percentage of the net income calculated based on the number of children. Under the schedule stated in the Texas Family Code, the court may order the parent to make child support payments equal to the following:
20% of net income for one child
25% for two children
30% for three children
35% for four children
40% for five children or more.
If you earn a net income over $7,500 per month, the court can also look to increase Texas child support by non-custodial parents.
Challenging Child Support Obligations
All decisions made regarding child support obligations must be in the child’s best interests. If you want to request a review of the child support amounts you have to pay each month, you will need to show a material change in your child’s situation or your circumstances. Some examples include:
Financial situation of both parents
A significant change in employment income i.e. a job loss
Changing needs of the child
Extraordinary healthcare or education expenses
Your lawyer can advise you on your rights as a non-custodial parent and plan your case.
Child Support For A Non-custodial Parent
Have questions about a non-custodial parent’s rights? Wish to challenge or modify existing child support court orders? Contact an experienced attorney. The family law experts at Sean Lynch have decades of experience in family law. Contact us today for a no-cost case review.
Normally, the parent with primary physical custody receives child support from the non-custodial parent. This applies even if parents share joint legal custody after divorce. These payments are meant to be used only to provide for the needs of the children. They are not intended for the personal use of the parent. However, the custodial parent retains the right to decide how to use the child support funds.
It’s important to work with qualified child support lawyers in Arlington, TX to help you understand the importance of your child support order and how the court determines the amount of child support that a parent has to pay.
In the event that you require a child support modification or need to enforce a child support order against a parent who is not meeting their obligations, experienced attorneys at a reputable law firm can fight for your legal rights in the state of Texas.
This can lead to child support disputes over how much a parent needs to pay and how a parent is spending the money. In the event that parents cannot come to an agreement about child support arrangements, they will typically seek legal representation and present their case in front of a Texas court judge to make a decision.
Child Support Rules In Arlington, TX
The Texas Family Code sets out guidelines for the court to determine child support obligations. Firstly, the court will determine each parent’s net resources. These include:
100% of wage and salary income and other compensation including commissions and bonuses
Earnings from interests, dividends and royalties
Net rental income
Any other earnings
Taxes and any expenses paid for insurance for the benefit of your child will be deducted from the amount calculated by the court.
Amount of time that the parent has possession and access to the child
Childcare costs that either parent has to incur
Payment of medical expenses and healthcare insurance for the child
Any extraordinary costs required by either parent or the child
Since the courts are allowed to deviate from the typical child support guidelines, you will need to seek a consultation with child support attorneys in Arlington TX to find out the specifics of how the legal guidelines can apply to your case.
Arlington Texas Child Support Obligations
In general, the court applies a schedule when determining the amounts that a parent has to pay for child support. For one child, a parent generally has to contribute 20% of their net resources towards child support. This increases by every 5% for each additional child to a maximum of five children at 40%.
Ending Child Support in Arlington, TX
Typically, you have to continue paying child support until your child turns 18 or seeks emancipation. Alternatively, if your child opts to serve in the military, the court will view them as an adult. This would allow you to end your child support obligations.
There are other events that can lead to the termination of the child support obligation. For example, someone else may adopt your child. A less common situation is if your child is found to be not your biological child unless you adopted your child.
You will need to make a filing in an Arlington TX court with the help of a law firm to have the judge terminate your child support obligations.
Modifications To Child Support Orders in Arlington TX
Life changes such as job losses or a serious illness could be grounds for modifying your child support orders in Texas. Alternatively, if the other parent now earns much more than they used to or your child develops a medical condition that requires higher healthcare costs, you might be able to request additional child support.
Enforcing Child Support Orders
Unfortunately, an ex who isn’t paying their child support obligations is a common issue in Arlington TX. You will need to have your lawyers file an enforcement action to the courts if your ex is not making the full child support payment.
Often, courts in Arlington TX can effectively enforce court order payments through various means. One example is having employers withhold a portion of the obligor’s wages. You might also be able to claim other property belonging to the obligor to meet any missed child support obligations.
The Office of the Attorney General can also have professional and driving licenses suspended and report any payments that were missed to credit bureaus. In more severe cases, parents can face civil or criminal contempt charges.
On the other hand, if your ex is seeking to take enforcement actions against you for not paying child support, you may need to engage an experienced law firm in Arlington TX. A good attorney can fight for your rights and protect you from the potentially devastating effects of these penalties.
Experienced Arlington TX Child Support Lawyers
Let the award-winning family law attorneys at Sean Lynch law firm help you prepare your case. We make sure that both parents help to provide for the needs of your child. We have years of experience in Texas family law, serving parents and clients throughout the Fort Worth-Arlington-Dallas areas and Tarrant County. Contact us today for a no-cost review and initial consultation.
Child support orders are necessary to ensure that your child’s needs are provided for after a divorce. These needs include your child’s basic needs, healthcare and medical expenses, educational costs, and any costs relating to extracurricular activities. In these cases, child support lawyers can often advise you on the appropriate amount of child support you can get for your child.
One of the most contentious issues in a Texas divorce is child support. It can be expensive to raise a child in the Fort Worth area. In many cases, the parent with physical custody of the child might require an additional monetary payment every month. This is used to meet the needs of their child. As a result, the Texas courts can establish a child support arrangement requiring one parent to make child support payments to the other parent. It is best for parents to agree on child support arrangements. However, if parents cannot agree, they will typically have to go to Texas family law courts. They would engage the help of Fort Worth, TX child support lawyers for representation.
You might want to have a consultation with experienced attorneys at a professional law firm to understand the amount of child support you may receive or may be obligated to pay, and any other child support issues.
If you already have a child support order and your ex-spouse is not paying up, a family law attorney can help you file an enforcement action with the Texas courts. You can also raise any concerns you have about how your ex-spouse is spending their child support.
How Texas Courts Determine Child Support
Legal courts in Fort Worth, TX calculate the amount of child support you need to pay based on a percentage of your expenses and income, after deducting taxes.
You’ll have to prepare documents proving your income and assets. If there is no information available, the assumption will be that your income is equivalent to the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour workweek.
The Texas Family Code states that the non-custodial parent or the paying parent has to pay 20% of their net resources to child support. If you have two children, this goes up to 25%. The percentage goes up further to 30%, 35% and 40% for three children, four children and five children or more respectively. The Fort Worth, TX courts can also order you to pay additional child support to meet your child’s needs if your net resources exceed $7,500.
You have to pay child support until your child turns 18, they are emancipated, or your child joins the military and is on active duty. If someone else adopts your child, your parental rights will be terminated. In such cases, you will not be liable for child support. However, there’s no getting out of meeting your legal obligations. Failure to pay court-ordered child support is subject to enforcement. The consequences range from wage withholding to suspension of your driver’s license.
Sometimes your financial situation can change so you cannot continue meeting your current child support obligations. Professional Fort Worth family law attorneys can help you to file a modification request to the courts.
Choosing Fort Worth Texas Child Support Lawyers
It’s always a good idea to have an initial consultation with the lawyers you’re intending to hire. This can take place over a video conference even if you can’t make a trip to the law firm.
Prepare your documentation so your lawyers can help to do an initial review. Have a few questions to ask your legal attorneys. You’ll want to learn the following:
The past experience of the attorney with child support issues that are similar to yours
How familiar your attorney is with the Texas court system and child support laws in Fort Worth, TX
How your lawyer views the attorney-client relationship
Your attorney’s initial views of your case and the options available
You may also want to assess how comfortable you feel with talking to your attorney about your child support matters, and how well the legal attorney can advocate for your interests.
Experienced Fort Worth Child Support Lawyers
Let the award-winning Fort Worth family law attorneys at Sean Lynch law firm help you prepare your case. We have years of legal experience in Texas family law, serving parents and clients throughout the Fort Worth area and advocating for their child support rights. Contact us today for a no-cost case review.
A judge ordered me to make regular child support payments for a kid I never wanted. The state of Texas garnishes a portion of my paycheck each month per child support guidelines. Additionally, I was ordered to pay half of all the health care bills including medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance. When I was notified that my ex-wife had lost our baby to Child Protective Services, I had questions. Do I stop making child support payments if my child is in foster care even if I am the biological father? Is there someone else I needed to pay?
I didn’t know much about CPS or the foster care system. To learn more about how this would impact my child support payments, I called a family law attorney. She explained what happened to my son after he was taken from his mother.
Where Will My Child Live in Foster Care?
I discovered that once my son entered the foster system, he would be placed with adults. I wanted to learn more about where he was and whether I would have to continue to pay child support.
The state pays for foster homes to take care of children involved with CPS. The Department of Family and Protective Services approves these homes and provides training for the adults involved.
What Are The Options For Child Support Services?
If no foster homes are available, your kid will go to a group home. These homes can have multiple children living together.
You may opt to have your child returned to you. That would also mean you no longer have to pay child support. If you never wanted the child, the next best option for your child is a kinship placement. This could include family or friends who agree to have your child stay with them. This is the preferred option in most cases. However, if CPS cannot find any relative or friend that it deems appropriate, then they must place the child in a non-kinship setting.
Will Child Support Stop While My Kid Is In Foster Care?
A parent’s obligation to pay child support does not automatically stop when their child moves into foster care. The only way to discontinue or change the court-ordered amount of child support is to ask a judge to change the child support order. Your circumstances will determine whether or not your request goes through.
In this case, federal and state laws indicate that biological parents still have an obligation to pay child support for their children monthly and provide for them. This applies even if the state has appointed another caregiver who is taking care of the child. The court may issue an order to redirect payments to the state to support the child. Another purpose of paying child support is to pay back any vouchers that the foster parents use to take care of the child.
Often, the children may remain in foster care until state social services determine that parents are fit to raise the children. In some cases, this is until the child is adopted. In cases where the children are adopted, that often means the biological parents’ parental rights and relationship with the children are terminated. You may no longer have a monthly child support obligation to fulfill. However, you still have to pay child support payments for the time that your child is in foster care and any time where your child goes back to the custodial parent to provide for them.
Increased Child Support Obligations
In fact, the court may modify your child support obligation. This may happen if circumstances arise that increase the expenses required to enable your child to live in a comfortable and safe home. Unfortunately, as my attorney told me, increased monthly support obligations can put a strain on a low-income parent and their families. This can increase the time that children spend in foster care as families struggle to make child support payments.
When Can I Stop Paying Child Support?
You are still required to pay support of the amount per month indicated in your child support order. Your liability continues until your children turn 18 or your children seek emancipation. The only exception is if your children are adopted.
Child Support Enforcement
If you have been ordered to pay child support and you do not meet your obligations, state and federal child support enforcement agencies can enforce them. They may order that the state and your employer withhold amounts of your paycheck or tax refunds equal to the child support you are required to pay according to the court order. The state court can also order a lien against your property.
There may also be other consequences such as having to appear in court or being unable to renew driving licenses. On the federal level, you may be denied a new passport if you haven’t been paying child support.
The court can also order a parent to pay retroactive child support to the person caring for the children. This can happen if the father or mother has not been paying the full amount of child support or has owed child support payments.
Understanding Child Support Orders
If you can’t afford the current amount you’re paying in child support, you can petition the court to modify your support orders with a modification case.
According to the Texas Family Code guidelines, the state courts will calculate the net resources that each parent has. This includes their income, assets, and retirement benefits, and excludes expenses and liabilities. The state courts will also consider any Social Security Disability Insurance program benefits. As a guideline, for one child, the non-custodial parent has to pay 20% of their net resources to support the child. However, the courts may order a different amount depending on your circumstances. On top of regular child support, a non-custodial parent may have to provide for half of the dental and medical costs that are not covered by insurance for the children.
Sometimes the child support order will state the conditions for medical and dental support. However, the cost of medical and dental expenses should be reasonable. The court defines this as a cost that does not exceed 1.5% of the parent’s annual resources for dental insurance and expenses. For medical insurance and expenses, this should not exceed 9% of the parent’s annual resources.
Remember that you can’t pay medical or dental support directly to the other parent. The judge will sign a Income Withholding Order for Support which will be sent to the parent’s employer. The employer will withhold an amount of money from the parent’s paycheck and send it to the state child support services agency. Child support services will then forward the money to the other parent.
If you do not want your employer to know about your withholding order, you will need to pay the state child support services agency directly.
Changing Child Support Orders
However, some parents may face the case of losing a job and steady income. Others may be facing circumstances that have drastically reduced their financial resources. They can ask the state court to modify child support orders and reduce the amount of child support that has to be paid. You will have to provide evidence to support your claim.
On the other hand, the state court can also order you to pay more child support. This can happen if you have an increase in income. Another reason is if the cost of housing and childcare for your children has increased.
Contact Us For A No-Cost Case Review
Navigating the choppy waters at the cross-section of CPS, foster care, and child support is a very complex process. You shouldn’t try to navigate the issue of child support payment in foster care alone. It can become a significant obligation when you consider the additional dental and medical expenses of the children on top of regular child support. Your children may also have a medical condition that requires more support.