Although non-custodial parents in Texas are ordered to pay child support, many parents are delinquent in making their payments.
Divorces are hard for everyone involved, especially children. In some cases, kids who were once used to sharing a home with both parents are made to live in a single-parent household. Not only is this emotionally trying for children, but it can also be financially devastating as well. As a way to bridge the financial gap that can occur when parents get divorced, Texas officials require non-custodial parents to pay child support. Both parents should be obligated to financially support their children, regardless of whether they are together or divorced. Unfortunately, there are some children who do not get the child support funds they are entitled to.
Delinquent child support
In 2011, the Houston Chronicle reported that parents in Texas owe more than $11 billion in delinquent child support funds. This number continues to grow. Based on records from the Texas Attorney General’s Office, there are more than one million parents who are court-ordered to pay child support in the state. Yet, nearly 460,000 did not make their regular payments in 2011. In Dallas County alone, approximately 46 percent of parents were past due in their child support payments. While certain life changes may require child support order modifications, parents should not avoid making financial payments to their children.
How child support is calculated
In Texas, child support is calculated based on the non-custodial parent’s gross income, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In addition to calculating the obligator’s income, the judge presiding over the case may take into account the following:
- The medical needs of the child
- The age and health of the child
- The amount of time the child is in the custody of each parent
- Each parent’s ability to contribute to the child’s wellbeing
- Whether there are any child care expenses involved
- Whether the non-custodial parent is paying alimony
The judge may order the non-custodial parent to cover a portion of the child’s medical insurance and education expenses on top of the base child support amount.
Partnering with a legal representative
A divorce can be extremely stressful, making it difficult for parents to make wise decisions regarding the future of their children. It may be best to partner with a legal representative who has a thorough understanding of Texas state law, as well as federal regulations. Not only can a family lawyer walk you through the legal process, but they may be able to ensure you and your children get everything you are entitled to in the divorce settlement.