San Antonio child support attorney, Jennifer Espronceda, helps San Antonio families establish, enforce, and modify child support payments that respect current financial circumstances while still maintaining a focus on what’s best for the children.
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A child support attorney can serve as a true advocate. My goal is to:
- Negotiate payments and modifications that are fair to everyone involved
- Find practical, creative solutions to child support disputes
- Deliver individualized service and support that’s unique to your needs
- Provide expert legal advice and representation throughout the entire process
How Child Support Is Calculated in Texas
In Texas, child support payments are calculated based on legal guidelines and set formulas. You can use the Texas Attorney General’s monthly child support calculator as a guide to understand what compensation you are entitled to. Although the entirety of Texas law is complex, there are basics factors to consider.
- The courts can order either parent or both, to provide financial support to a child, even if their parental rights have been terminated.
- Financial support must be provided until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school unless the child is medically dependent.
- The courts can order periodic, lump, or annual payments, or any combination of the three.
- The courts can order payments to be made automatically through the withholding of income.
- Any parent paying child support is known as the “obligor.”
Child Support Modifications in Texas
Child support payments are not set in stone and can often be modified if financial, living, or family circumstances change. The Texas Attorney General’s site outlines the child support modification process and how to qualify for a modification.
If the order was established or last modified more than three years ago, you may be eligible for a review of your payment plan. Much can change in three years, and it never hurts to get an order reviewed to see if an adjustment can be made.
If your current amount of the child support payments would change by 20% or $100 based on the child support guidelines, you should consider a modification. For example, let’s say that your monthly income was $3,600 when the order was set, and you were paying $1,080 in child support for three children. However, you were recently laid off and had to take a position with a substantially lower salary of $2,800 a month. Based on the standard child support calculations, this would lower your child support payments by several hundred dollars, making you eligible for a review and possible modification.
Net income is calculated by taking the obligor’s monthly income and subtracting:
- Social security taxes.
- Federal income taxes.
- Health insurance coverage for the children (if it’s being withheld from the obligor’s paychecks).
- Union dues (if they’re being withheld from the obligor’s paychecks).
Once the net income is calculated, a percentage will be applied based on the number of children being supported.
- 1 Child = 20%
- 2 Children = 25%
- 3 Children = 30%
- 4 Children = 35%
- 5 Children = 40%
- 6+ Children = Not less than the amount for five children
For example, if your net monthly income, after deductions, is $2,300 and you have two children to pay child support for, your child support payments will be 25% of $2,300, or $575.
Ultimately, the courts have the authority to establish child support payment amounts, but these guidelines and calculations are generally followed.
Criteria For Modification Changes:
Finally, if there has been a material or substantial change in circumstances since the child support order was entered, you may qualify for a modification. A material or substantial change can be:
- The noncustodial parent is now legally responsible for additional children
- The children’s medical insurance coverage has changed
- The children are now living with a different parent
- The noncustodial parent’s income has increased or decreased
An attorney can help ensure that the payment increase is financially reasonable and provides for the children’s needs.
- The Child Support Review Process (CSRP), otherwise known as an in-office negotiation
- A court hearin
Typically, a CSRP is scheduled first so both parents can meet and attempt to negotiate modification terms that they agree to. If a mutual agreement can’t be made, a court hearing will be scheduled, and a judge will issue a new order.
In either case, a San Antonio child support attorney can be present to represent you, speak on your behalf, and help you negotiate fair terms.
FAQs About Child Support in San Antonio, TX
Texas does not take unpaid child support payments lightly. In fact, Texas enforces and collects more child support payments than any other state. Failure to pay child support may result in withheld earnings, withheld tax returns, suspension of drivers’ license, freezing of bank accounts, and even jail time. Our child support enforcement page covers important tips on how to enforcement payments.
The FPLS is an arm of the federal government’s Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. It helps track noncustodial parents across state lines so child support payments can be enforced, even under difficult circumstances.
Once a child turns 18 or graduate from high school, whichever occurs later, they are considered a legal adult and child support payments will no longer be ordered. However, if the noncustodial parent owes backpay for past payments, they will still have to make those payments until they’re caught up.
The focus of family law is to do what’s best for the child, so financial support and visitation rights are two separate issues. If a noncustodial parent fails to make timely child support parents, they may still retain their right to visit their children
Failure to pay child support carries some of the strictest penalties in the Family Code. An experienced trial attorney like Jennifer Espronceda knows how to successfully prosecute child support enforcement cases. Jennifer is also skilled in dispute resolution and can help resolve these high-stakes cases through negotiation before taking the case to trial.