Alison Grant has helped me through the stress and anxiety of probating and being executor of three Wills. She organized, took care of the details and kept me informed of every step of the process so that when she stood by me in court things went smoothly and quickly. She also outlined the disbursement of assets and mailed consent forms to all of the heirs and even transferred the title of an oil royalty from the deceased to an heir.
B. Franklin

Archive for the ‘Child Support’ Category

How to Get Child Support Payments Reduced in Texas

Posted on August 14th, 2018

A Justice scale with one of the scales replaced with a swing beside the words "Reducing Child Support Amounts"Because child support orders operate only as a financial snapshot at one point in time, many parents will eventually seek to reduce their own child support obligation due to a change in circumstances. Read on to learn more about the circumstances that may prompt courts to reduce your child support payments and how to obtain this modification.

When You Can Modify a Child Support Order

Three Years After the Last Order (until September 1, 2018)

If three years have passed since your child support was set or the last time your child support order was modified, you may be able to seek modification without showing a change in circumstances. If under Texas’s current child support guidelines, the new support obligation would be more than 20% higher or lower (or more than $100 higher or lower) than the current obligation, a modification may be granted.

But after September 1, 2018, this provision will be eliminated from the Texas Family Code. Instead, parties will need to show that there’s been a change in circumstances or that they agree to the modification.

Proving a Change in Circumstances

In general, a party petitioning for a reduction of their child support obligation within three years of the most recent support order will need to show that there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances since the initial child support order was made. This change of circumstances can include the following:

This change in circumstances doesn’t need to be on your end. If your child’s custodial parent has changed jobs, remarried, or received an inheritance, these increases in income or assets can all factor into a judge’s decision to modify the support order.

Obtaining an Agreement Between the Parties

By far the easiest way to modify your child support obligation is to reach an agreement with your child’s other parent, put this agreement in writing, and file it with the trial court. As long as both parties are represented by a family law attorney (which means they’ve been advised of their legal rights and responsibilities), the trial court will generally presume they’ve freely entered into an agreement of their own accord, even if this agreement differs from what the previous guidelines stated.

Unfortunately, getting your child’s custodial parent to voluntarily agree to reduce your child support obligation can be an uphill battle, even in the best of circumstances. But you may be able to encourage your child’s other parent to agree to this change by pointing out that you’re both likely to incur a lot of attorney’s fees by getting into a courtroom battle on support payments.

What You’ll Need to Prove to Modify Support

If you can’t obtain an agreement between you and your child’s custodial parent, you’ll need to introduce evidence that will show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. This generally requires a showing that this change in circumstances was outside your control or was not a result of an effort to avoid your court-ordered payment obligations.

You’ll also need to present financial documents that back up your claims, such as W2 forms, paycheck stubs, medical bills, a copy of your credit report, or disability paperwork. These documents will need to be turned over to the custodial parent’s attorney before your court date, and you may also be able to request certain financial documents in return.

If you need some help modifying your current child support order or want to learn more about your modification options, contact Allison Grant, Attorney at Law. She has years of experience in a wide range of family law matters, including support modifications. Call the office at (972) 434-0021 or (940) 484-0201, or visit her website to fill out a short contact form.

Categories: Child Support

Texas Child Support Laws to Know when Divorcing

Posted on March 23rd, 2018

A parent and a child together hold a heart with an EKG heart rhythm symbol drawn on beside the words "Texas Child Support Laws"

Child support is often one of the most contentious issues involved in a Texas divorce case. Even couples that inherently agree on custody and visitation may disagree on such issues as child support arrangements. The state of Texas has strict guidelines for resolving these issues. These can be helpful, but also confusing. Keep the following child support regulations in mind as you proceed with your divorce:

Who Pays Child Support in Texas?

In Texas, the custodial parent is officially referred to as the conservator. While your parenting plan may call for both parties to spend considerable time with your shared children, one person typically takes over a greater share of childcare duties. In such situations, the other parent is responsible for paying child support.

As the Texas Attorney General points out, child support is not determined by the parent’s gender. In Texas, ten percent of non-custodial parents are mothers.

Determining the Amount of Child Support Paid

Child support payment levels are typically based on two factors: the number of children and the non-custodial parent’s income after taxes. The state outlines these basic child support guidelines:

The Texas Family Code mandates that all income be counted when determining child support payments. This includes not only regular paychecks, but also overtime, bonuses, commissions, and income from freelancing or running side businesses.

Children from other relationships may factor into the amount the non-custodial parent is required to pay. Courts handle these considerations on a case-by-case basis.

In many cases, the non-custodial parent is not employed. Lack of employment does not remove the obligation for paying child support; rather, courts may assign payments by calculating what somebody working a forty-hour week at a minimum wage job might earn. Even parents who are full-time students or under the age of 18 are responsible for paying support.

How Are Child Support Payments Made?

Once specific payment amounts have been determined, the non-custodial parent can arrange for necessary funds to be taken out of each paycheck. This is typically the easiest approach to paying child support. However, non-custodial parents are also permitted to send child support payments directly to the State Disbursement Unit. Additionally, online systems exist for fulfilling child support obligations. Approved options include e-childsPay and ExpertPay.

What Happens if the Non-Custodial Parent Fails to Make Payments on Time?

Custodial parents sometimes threaten to cut off the non-custodial parent’s visitation access in response to child support non-payment. This is not a valid proposition, as visitation and support are entirely separate matters. Both parents must fulfill their obligations, regardless of the other party’s behavior.

Under Texas’ contempt of court rules, non-custodial parents can be sent to jail for failing to abide by court orders — this includes failure to pay mandated child support. Each violation could result in fines of up to $500 and up to six months behind bars.

Can Child Support Arrangements Be Modified?

In select cases, it may be possible to modify child support arrangements. Modifications are typically due to recent joblessness, medical issues, or other matters that make it difficult to abide by child support obligations. Modification is not possible unless the original child support order was created (or last modified) at least three years ago or there is is a substantial change in circumstances. Additionally, the original payment amount must differ from the proposed payment amount by at least $100 or 20 percent.

Can Child Support Be Paid As a Lump Sum?

While most non-custodial parents in Texas disburse child support through regular paychecks, other options are available. Sometimes, parents will agree to handle child support through a lump sum. However, lump-sum payments do not remove the potential for future modification; if the court determines that the payor’s situation has “materially and substantially” changed, monthly support beyond the original lump sum may be ordered.

When Does Child Support End?

In Texas, non-custodial parents are required to continue paying child support until each child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school. Local courts determine support based on whichever milestone occurs later. Child support may also end if the child in question becomes emancipated through marriage or other means.

The more you understand local child support laws and how they apply to your case, the better. When in doubt, consult Attorney Alison Grant. She and her team will assist you with everything from child support calculations to payment enforcement and modification.

Categories: Child Support

The Reality About Child Support Payments in Texas

Posted on May 24th, 2017

parent holding child's handChild support is one of the most talked about facets of family law. You can turn on the news or read tabloids to learn about some celebrity having to pay out millions to take care of their kid. You can read legal blogs about the state arresting a parent delinquent on payments.

All of this available information has increased awareness of child support; however, it has also led to lots of misinformation and innuendo across Texas. It is time to separate myth from reality.

Common Child Support Myths

There are a number of child support myths out there.

Many Texans still believe that men cannot receive child support. They fail to understand that society has changed. In the past, courts did give preference to mothers. This was necessary, to an extent, because men were usually the primary wage earners. Today, assuming the father has custody of the child, mothers are routinely ordered to pay child support.

There is a misconception about how much people have to pay. The myth that the state takes ”all of your money” is false. Instead, the government employs a formula, published for all to see, to decide how much child support to assess.

So, How Much Do You Have to Pay?

Anyone can visit the Texas Attorney General website to get an idea of expected child support payments. Then, sit down with a family law attorney to figure out if this amount is correct for your particular situation.

Always remember that the child support calculator does not take any extenuating circumstances into consideration. For example, someone could have extremely high medical bills, be attending college and have to pay tuition or owe money for large bills accrued while the two parents were living together.

An attorney can take this sort of information to the court to request a reduction of child support. After all, caring for a child is a responsibility not a penalty. The state does not want a parent to be overburdened.

Are Child Support Modifications Possible?

Yes, an attorney can request to modify child support payments. It is always best to view the amount of child support as temporary rather than permanent.

If the person required to pay has a change in lifestyle, such as getting laid off from work, the court will probably modify the child support amount if requested.

Get Compassionate Legal Advice

Alison Grant, Attorney at Law, can provide more information on Texas child support. Feel free to contact the firm anytime with questions.

Categories: Child Support

Understanding How Child Support Payments are Determined in Texas

Posted on February 13th, 2017

Child Support Going through the process of a divorce is an experience most people would rather avoid. But when a couple has decided to divorce and there are children involved the process can introduce a dynamic which often becomes contentious. If you are the non-custodial parent, you probably have some concerns regarding what you might be ordered to pay for child support. There are any number of horror stories out there, however, you should know each person’s experience in regards to how much they are ordered to pay is different.

Determining Which Standard to Apply

When a court in the state of Texas orders child support it is calculated using a specific set of guidelines which establish a minimum amount of child support, however, there is a host of factors the court can consider which could cause it to deviate from the basic minimum. The Net monthly income of the obligor determines how the guidelines are applied. The standards may be applied one or two ways. If the obligor has a net monthly income less than $7,500.00 the first standard will be applied. If the obligor’s monthly net income is greater than $7,500.00 the second standard will be applied.

Deviating from the Guidelines

In cases where the court determines the set guidelines are not appropriate or are unjust, it may deviate if there is enough evidence to show that the deviation is in the best interest of the child. The court may consider any number of statutory factors, and anything else it deems relevant. Factors include, but are not limited to:

Medical Child Support

It should be noted medical child support is awarded in addition to the financial needs of children in the state of Texas. There are a number of factors the court will consider when making a determination regarding which parent will be responsible for maintaining health insurance for the child.

The laws pertaining to child custody and support are complex and can be difficult to understand. When it comes to the health and welfare of your children, you need an attorney who has the experience to not only navigate you through the process of your divorce, you need one who will hear, and validate any concerns you may have. Attorney Alison Grant has provided compassionate legal services to people in Lewisville and surrounding Texas communities since 1998. She is a fierce advocate for every client she represents. Attorney Grant understands communication plays a major role in her ability to work with her clients to help them achieve resolution in their case. Attorney Grant strives to provide her clients with information pertaining to their case and its progression.

If you need an attorney to assist you with your divorce and issues relating to child support, contact attorney Grant at 972-434-0021 or 940-484-0201. You may also fill out the contact form on her website and one of her team members will contact you.

Categories: Child Support
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