In Texas, when you need to apply for child support in hopes of providing a better life for you and your family, you do not have to go through the process alone.
I know you may have many questions about how to apply for child support, and I am eager to answer those and represent you in court to make sure your rights as a parent are protected.
You may not know where to begin; you may not even know what questions to ask, and that’s fine. That’s why my law firm exists to help you achieve the best possible outcome through the Texas Family Law court system.
How to Formally Apply for Child Support in Texas
Although it seems at times very difficult, applying for child support is relatively straightforward as long as you follow the proper steps.
The Texas Attorney General office provides online resources to start the application process. However, I highly recommend working with an experienced family law attorney before completing any paperwork. You do not want to make any mistakes when it comes to child support paperwork. Working with the Texas Attorney General’s Office is free, and you should absolutely utilize them if you do not have the funds to hire a private attorney. However, working with them is always slow, frustrating, and they are not allowed to give you legal advice. It’s strongly recommended that you hire a private attorney when filing any lawsuit involving your children. That’s why you want to get it right the first time so that we protect your parental rights and look out for the best interest of your child.
In addition to providing support at the beginning of your child support application, I can help you resolve any disputes that may arise.
Guidelines for Child Support Provisions in Texas Family Courts
In a situation where the parents cannot agree on an amount for child support, the Texas Family Court will step in to settle the disagreement. Therefore, I am often asked what guidelines a judge will follow when making key decisions in a child support case.
Texas Family Code 154 (Child Support) explains what guidelines the judge overseeing your child support case will follow when making a ruling. As always in Texas Family Court, the Court-Ordered Child Support guidelines are centered on acting in the best interest of the child.
This includes determining child support responsibilities for both the Custodial and Non-Custodial Parent, determining whether child support should continue past high school graduation, the manner and place of payment, and when child support payments may be terminated. Additionally, the guidelines will be used to determine:
- The duration of the court order for child support
- What happens if the Custodial Parent gets re-married
- How child support is handled if no parent has actual custody of the child
The judge has the authority to make just one or both parents pay child support depending on the situation. Typically, child support is paid up to the child’s 18th birthday or when the child graduates from high school, depending on which comes latest. However, there may be special circumstances involved that require expert legal support.
When Will a Judge Deviate from Child Support Guidelines?
Another question you may have is what circumstances or special situations will cause a judge to deviate from the Texas Family Code to act in the child’s best interest.
Fortunately, the Texas Attorney General’s Office has provided guidelines for special circumstances that may require a deviation when deciding on child support payments or modifying an existing court order for child support.
If specific situations arise, the judge can make a decision about child support, including increasing or decreasing child support payments. Some examples of what would prompt a deviation include:
- Special matters involving healthcare or special needs (e.g., COVID-19)
- A sudden increase in one of the parent’s wealth
- Job loss or a decline in income for one or both parents
- Special education needs that require a unique arrangement
- Changes to the child’s education or schooling needs
A good example of this could be a case where the child is not performing well in public school, and the Custodial Parent enrolls the child in a private school. The child is happier and performing much better, but now there’s an added cost that must be addressed. The Texas Family Court judge may order increased child support payments to compensate for the cost of private school fees.
As life changes, so do the circumstances. Whenever there is a legitimate need to deviate from standard child support payments or modify an existing order, Texas law states that it has to be in the child’s best interest and not a way to punish the Non-Custodial parent.
Blair Parker Is the Right Family Law Attorney for You
Protecting your rights as well as the rights of your child is more than just a job for me; it’s my professional duty. Educating you about your legal rights when it comes to applying for child support is a critical part of my job as a family law attorney.
Over the past decade of practicing family law, I have helped parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County receive fair treatment in Texas Family Courts. I have the skills, education, and determination to represent you in the best way possible.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your child support situation. I am happy to answer more of your questions, help you apply for child support, and provide you with legal representation.