During a divorce, it is critical to protect your children’s future. This requires careful attention to child support arrangements. The divorce attorneys at McClure Law Group collaborate with parents and with experts from a wide range of disciplines, to work toward a child support arrangement that will promote a strong future for your child. In addition to providing legal representation for an initial child support case, including at trial as necessary, our Dallas child support lawyers also can handle modification and enforcement matters.Determining a Child Support Arrangement
All parents in Texas owe a legal duty to financially support their children, even if there is no court order in place to provide that support. During a divorce, the parents may try to negotiate child support, but if they cannot reach an acceptable agreement, the court will issue an order on the subject. Parents are defined in Texas as a child's biological mother and either a person who is presumed to be the child's other parent because they were married to the mother, someone who is legally determined to be the child's biological father, someone who signed an acknowledgement of paternity, or an adoptive mother or father.
Texas courts may order parents to support a child until they are 18 years old or they graduate from high school, whichever is later, until the child is emancipated by marrying or by a court order or another operation of law, or until the child dies. When a child is disabled under the applicable statute, child support may continue indefinitely. Usually, a noncustodial parent pays child support to a custodial parent.
Texas guidelines explain how child support should presumably be calculated, based on how much money the parent paying the support makes on a monthly basis, minus specified deductions. The guidelines cap the amount of monthly income that is the basis for these calculations. The court will look at the parent's gross income, including their salary, overtime, commissions, bonuses, tips, trust income, retirement income, rental income, royalty income, and other sources of funds.
Once the gross income is determined, certain items are deducted, such as Social Security income, federal income tax, and health insurance premiums when the paying parent already pays for these. This amount is divided by 12 to determine monthly net income. After the noncustodial parent's monthly income is established, it is multiplied by a percentage, based on the number of children who will be supported by the paying parent. For example, when there are two children, the monthly net income is multiplied by 25%.
There is a cap on how much of the parent's monthly net income may be considered for the calculation. Child support will only apply up to that cap, and the court may order more as warranted only based on the child's proven needs. Parents may request adjustments.
After an initial order is in place, either parent may request a modification based on a material and substantial change of circumstances. Usually, the change of circumstances involves a change in income, additional children, changes to living arrangements, or a change in medical insurance coverage.Retain a Child Support Lawyer in the Dallas Area
Your children are important to you, and their future must be protected. If you are concerned about this issue, the Dallas child support attorneys at the McClure Law Group can help you address your and your child’s needs. We also have a Collin County office in Plano (by appointment) and represent parents in Fort Worth, Garland, Irving, Richardson, McKinney, Frisco, and Rockwall, as well as other areas of Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Denton, Tarrant, and Rockwall Counties. Call us at 214.692.8200 or contact us via our online form to set up an appointment with a support or child custody attorney.