Texas Child Support Lawyers Assisting with Modification and Enforcement
When you go through a difficult divorce or a separation from the other parent of your children, the process can be emotionally draining, and it can be difficult to think about going to court again in order to deal with a new child support issue. However, child support issues can arise once a child support order has been issued according to Texas law, and it is important for parents to understand their options.
Whether you need to modify an existing child support order due to a significant change in circumstances or you need to begin the process of child support enforcement, one of the experienced Texas child support modification and enforcement lawyers at our firm can begin working with you on your case today. You should not have to go through this process alone. One of the dedicated attorneys at Hargrave Law, PC can speak with you today about your options for modifying child support or beginning the collections or enforcement process.
Understanding How Child Support Works in Texas
Before we explain child support modifications or enforcement, it is essential to understand how the child support system works in Texas. Under Texas law, the child support model known as the “percentage of income” or “percentage of obligor’s income” model is used to calculate a total child support amount. While some states rely on an “income shares” model in which both parents contribute to the child support obligation, Texas instead requires the noncustodial parent to make child support payments to the custodial parent.
How is the noncustodial parent determined? The Texas Family Code provides relevant factors for a court to appoint sole or joint conservators in a child custody case. When one parent is appointed as the primary or sole managing conservator, or the sole possessory conservator, then the other parent is responsible for paying child support. The total child support amount is then a set percentage of the obligor parent’s net income based on the total number of kids.
Modifying a Child Support Order
When is it possible to modify an existing child support order? In general, when a child support order has been in place for three years or longer, it is typically easier to modify that order. Speaking more broadly, however, the parent seeking a child support modification will need to be able to show that she or he has experienced a significant change in circumstances. All of the following could potentially be examples of a significant change in circumstances that could necessitate a modification:
- Parent has lost his or her job;
- Parent has had to take a significant pay cut;
- Parent is relocating to another part of the country with significantly higher costs of living; and/or
- Significant change in child custody has occurred.
Enforcing a Child Support Order in Texas
Once a court orders child support, the parent who receives child support can still need to go through a difficult process in order to have that order enforced. If the obligor parent is not making his or her child support payment, it is important to know that you have options. The Texas Attorney General clarifies that it can take a number of steps to enforce a child support order, including but not limited to the following with regard to the nonpaying parent:
- Suspending a driver’s license;
- Denying a passport application or renewal;
- Placing a lien on the obligor parent’s properties, which may include bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance plans, and other claims or settlements;
- Report the nonpaying parent to credit reporting agencies; and/or
- Hold the nonpaying parent in civil or criminal contempt.
Contact a Texas Child Support Enforcement and Modification Attorney
Do you need assistance modifying or enforcing a child support order? One of the Bedford, TX child support attorneys at our firm can help. Contact Hargrave Law, PC today.