Articles Tagged with Child Support

What is the Maximum Amount of Child Support I Can Be Ordered to Pay in Texas?

 
            It would be really easy to answer the question of what the maximum amount of child support possible is if the Texas Legislature had decided to put an absolute cap in the family code on the amount of child support, but unfortunately or fortunately depending on where you may be situated in a family law case, there is not absolute cap on child support in Texas. This issue was taken up before the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas on March 9, 2017 in the case In the Interest of V.J.A.O., A Child, where the court re-affirmed that the statutory guidelines allow for courts to consider relevant factors when setting child support and that trial courts have discretion to set child support amounts above what is presumed to be in the best interest of the child under the family code.

What are the Statutory Guidelines?

What is a material and substantial change?

The Texas Family Code allows for a modification of a suit affecting the parent-child relationship if modification would be in the best interest of the child and the circumstances of the child, a conservator, or other party affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the date of the order or the date of the signing of the mediated settlement agreement that the order is based off of. Material and Substantial change is not defined in the code, but obviously this is a term that has been dealt with by Texas Courts extensively. Material and Substantial change may sound like a high standard, but in actuality the courts give very broad discretion to trial court judges in their assessment of what a material and substantial change is.

What have appellate courts said about material and substantial change?

What is a direct Payment?

A direct payment is any payment that is made outside of payments made to the State Disbursement Unit in San Antonio. Most child-support orders require that all payments be made directly to the State Disbursement Unit in order to satisfy a child-support obligation. In fact, if a child-support order has an income withholding order, which most do, then federal law requires the employers to send these amounts that they withhold from an employee’s check directly to the State Disbursement Unit. However, there are many times that either because of an old order or because of confusion between parties, the person who is supposed to be paying child-support decides it would be easier to just pay the money directly to their child’s parent. This can be a real problem when it comes to enforcement and can cause a huge headache for both parties. Some people may assume that when an order says that child-support must be paid through the state registry that there is no hope for someone who gets pulled into court with enforcement and who could potentially owe hundreds, thousands, or even tens-of-thousands of dollars. At least one court of appeals in Texas would have even agreed with you on that up until recently.

Can a trial court look at direct payments as evidence?

If you’ve lost your job and need your child support lowered, I can help you through the process. We get many Kaufman county residents in our office with this very same problem, and we have helped many get their child support lowered. I would like to sit down with you and discuss your specific situation, so please call my office at (972) 564-4644 to set up a confidential consultation with me, Brett Talley, your Kaufman County Family Lawyer.

In order to lower child support, a petition to modify child support must be filed with the court. To oversimplify, you can file such a petition if

  1. It has been three years since the previous order, or

Sec. 154.006.  TERMINATION OF DUTY OF SUPPORT. (a)  Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the order or as provided by Subsection (b), the child support order terminates on:

(1)  the marriage of the child;

(2)  the removal of the child’s disabilities for general purposes;

Sec. 154.002.  CHILD SUPPORT THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION. (a) The court may render an original support order, or modify an existing order, providing child support past the 18th birthday of the child to be paid only if the child is:

(1)  enrolled:

(A)  under Chapter 25, Education Code, in an accredited secondary school in a program leading toward a high school diploma;