You may have asked when is child support owed, how is it calculated, and what are the proper procedures to pay? Under Texas family law, child support is set by the proper court in a temporary order or final order to provide support for the day to day expenses of the child(ren) to the custodial parent and paid by the non-custodial parent. That is, the parent designated primary conservator with physical custody of the child(ren) will always be the recipient of the child support payments (the “Obligee”) and the other parent will be the payor (the “Obligor”). In some cases, no child support is required if both parents agree to no child support payments. Parents may also agree to split custody evenly in a modified possession order, if circumstances are appropriate.
Child Support payments are due monthly and can be structured to be paid weekly, biweekly, or once a month by a specific day. These payments cannot be paid directly to the custodial parent but instead to the state disbursement unit at Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit, P.O. Box 659791, San Antonio, Texas 78265-9791 which will then be remitted to the primary conservator. A wage withholding order will be filed prior to the order being finalized and the Obligor’s employer will issue the child support payment directly to the state disbursement unit. Child support payments may also be sent directly by the non-custodial parent to the state disbursement unit with identifying information on the check, if he/she is self-employed or has an agreed order to pay in this method. It is important that no child support is paid directly to the other parent as these payments will not be considered child support payments by the office of attorney general and may cause the non-custodial parent to pay twice to account for the obligation, or worse, create an arrearage of child support. In certain cases, a notarized affidavit with the applicable child support documents, may be used to receive credit for any informal payments made directly to the custodial parent. For any and all outstanding child support payments or arrearage of child support on record with the attorney general office, the office of attorney general has authority to withhold any income such as tax returns, personal injury settlements, winning the lottery, or issue a warrant of arrest.
The minimum amount of child support owed is calculated primarily by the total income of the non-custodial parent and the total number of children pertaining to the child support order. Total income is assessed with the pre-tax total amount for all salary, wages, tips, bonuses, commissions, overtime, government benefits, retirement benefits, additional income from other sources, gifts, alimony. Then, all taxes will be deducted, all costs, and living expenses considered to determine the net monthly income to be used in calculating minimum child support. The net monthly resources is then multiplied by 20% for one child, increasing in 5% increments for each additional child to calculate minimum child support. That is, for two children 25% would be required, for three 30% is required, and 40% is always required for five or more children. For example, if the net monthly resources for the non-custodial parent is $5,000.00 and there are two children from the marriage, the minimum child support obligation would be $1,250.00. The minimum child support owed may be challenged by either parent and an experienced attorney will help in advocating for the most appropriate amount in the best interest of the child(ren).
About the Author: Mala Sharma has been practicing family law and personal injury with her family at the Law Offices of Sharma & Associates, founded in 1997 with over 42 years of combined experience. Mala is a Board of Advocates for the Houston Trial Lawyers Association, Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association GP Solo YLD, member of the Houston Bar Association, President Emeritus of the Houston Northwest Bar Association, and prior board member of the South Asian Bar Association.
This material is available for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you require advice on any particular legal question, you may contact Sharma & Associates at 281-893-8644 or by email at email@example.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.