Father looking for help with the child support office in Houston

Find Help Dealing With the Child Support Office in Houston

Following a major change to your family, it’s important to place yourself in the best possible financial position to provide quality care for your children and to look out for yourself. If you live in the Houston portion of Fort Bend County and are newly divorced or newly established as the parent of a child, then you need to understand how child support works.

I’ll unpack the key issues that you need to be aware of that will help you start on the right foot with child support obligations. I’ll also help you prepare to work with the child support office in Houston if you are served a notice or if your circumstances change.

Keys to Establishing Child Support in Texas

One of the most important aspects of a divorce or parentage court order is setting up child support payments. This is initiated after the court finalizes a divorce or a suit that affects the parent/child relationship.

The goal is to provide support for both the custodial parent who will be the primary caretaker of the child and the non-custodial parent who is typically obligated to make child support payments so that the child can continue to receive continuous support. (Learn more about the difference between custodial vs. non-custodial parent.)

The court will support the custodial parent in the following ways:

  • Review and adjust child support orders when a substantial change occurs.
  • Help enforce child and medical support orders when there is an error or dispute.
  • Use various resources to locate the non-custodial parent if the individual is non-responsive.
  • Enforce the original court order if the non-custodial parent does not meet their child support obligations.

The court will also support the non-custodial parent:

  • Review and adjust child support orders when a substantial change occurs.
  • Offers various payment options to automatically make scheduled payments.

How Wage Garnishment Works in Texas

If the obligor (paying parent) is employed, then the court will typically require that a certain amount of income is dedicated from the parent’s income to pay for child support. This is known as wage garnishments. According to the Texas Attorney General, about 80% of child support payments in the state are made through wage withholding.

Once the court order is finalized, the payor’s employer will be notified of the wage garnishment. Once the employer receives an “Order to Withhold Income for Child Support” from the child support office, the employer is required to follow the garnishment request by withholding the specified amount of pay.

In Texas, this withholding is set up where the payment amount is deducted from the employee’s paycheck. The employer sends the payment to the Office of the Attorney General each paycheck, the OAG processes the payment, and the OAG sends the payment to the custodial parent.

Texas follows this systematic approach to guarantee that payments are transferred to the right office and eventually to the right parent to reduce discrepancies or lost payments. (If you change jobs, are no longer employed, or face another change in circumstances, then you will need to work with the child support office in Houston to set up a new payment structure.)

Once an employee’s child support obligation has been satisfied, the OAG will send a notice to the employer. The employer will receive a “Notice of Termination/Release of Wage Garnishment Order” to conclude the wage garnishments.

Pursuing a Child Support Modification

The child support order can be modified over time to change the amount of child support garnished from the obligor’s wages. If you are the individual that owes child support, then you can pursue a modification under the following circumstances:

  • The order was last established or modified more than 3 years ago.
  • There has been a “material and substantial change in circumstances” affecting the non-custodial parent who is responsible for paying child support. Examples include job loss, a significant decline in income, or becoming responsible for more children.
  • The child’s coverage of medical insurance has changed.
  • The child has special needs.
  • The child now resides with a different parent.

Work with a Family Law Expert to Support a Child Support Case

If you are entering a new season of life making child support payments or need to pursue a modification of an existing child support order, I recommend working with a family law attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.

Don’t leave your financial future to chance. If you live in Fort Bend County, then reach out to me to find the legal support that you need in a child support matter.

Call my office today at 281-944-5485 to discuss your case. I’m ready to help you out!