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Child Support Requirements: The Basics of Child Support

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Recent statistics from the Texas judicial branch estimate that almost one-quarter of all new family law cases involve child support cases. This number of cases is expected to increase by another 12 percent within the next two years.

If you are considering ongoing support for your children, then this article is for you. You can read further to find out more about today’s child support requirements and how to guarantee that your children receive the support they deserve.

What Is Child Support?

Child support is the monetary support a parent pays to support children who are not in their physical custody. Child support agreements are executed either by court order, order by an administrative office (i.e., tribe) or voluntarily.

Who Pays Child Support?

The parent who does not have direct custody or control of the child is called a noncustodial parent (or obligor.) Noncustodial parents send support payments to the custodial parent to help pay for their children’s primary care.

According to the report Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support from the US Census Bureau, there are almost 14 million single, custodial parents in the US. Almost seventy percent of these custodial parents reported receiving child support payments from noncustodial parents to pay for their children’s basic needs.

What is Child Support For?

Child support serves two main purposes. Child support covers the “basic needs” necessary for raising children. Child support is also designed to fairly divide these important expenses between both parents.

Examples of “basic needs” for children include clothing and school supplies. Some states include a child’s medical or childcare expenses in their definition of “basic needs.” Other states also allow child support to cover a child’s extracurricular activities that contribute to their well-being.

What are the Goals of Child Support?

Child support has several significant goals. Child support can reduce poverty and financial insecurity among children. Regular child support payments can also reduce food stamps or Medicaid spending and prevent a custodial family from entering the welfare system.

Regular child support is also directly related to positive family relationships. Children that can depend on receiving regular child support payments enjoy positive cognitive development. A noncustodial parent who pays regular child support is more likely to see their child regularly and influence how they’re raised.

Who Receives Child Support?

The custodial parent (or oblige) receives child support funds directly from the noncustodial parent. If a child is living with a grandparent or in foster care, the grandparent or the state can become the obligee who receives child support on behalf of the child.

What are Child Support Requirements in Texas?

Child support in Texas is based on the noncustodial parent’s monthly income. Texas law includes guidelines that will allow both parents to calculate how much is needed on a monthly basis.

Noncustodial parent income includes their salary, wages, tips or commissions earned. Unemployment income can count towards figuring out total income levels. Worker’s compensation or social security payments can also count towards income levels.

What is the Child Support Process?

To open a child support case in Texas, you’ll need to follow these important steps:

1. Identify the Other Responsible Parent

Child support requirements specify that you establish that the children in custody are, in fact, related to the other parent. If the other parent denies their parentage in the child support case, certain genetic testing can be ordered to confirm their paternity or maternity. If the test results do not prove the parent’s biological attachment to the child, that parent is under no further obligation.

2. File a Child Support Order Case

Your next step is to open a child support order case. Some examples of the identifying information you will need for both yourself and the other parent to complete the filing include:

  • Driver’s License Numbers
  • Employment Histories
  • Phone Numbers
  • Social Security Numbers

You can file your case using the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) online Child Support Interactive system. If you don’t want to apply online, you can request a form from the OAG’s Child Support Division. Call their office at (800) 252-8014 to request a form by mail.

3. Child Support Review Process (CSRP)

The Child Support Review Process (CSRP) is an administrative process that determines, modifies, or enforces child support requests. The CSRP typically takes place at local Child Support Division offices throughout the state. Both parents meet with a Child Support Officer (CSO.)

If both parents agree to the terms of the support order, the order is transmitted to a judge for their final approval. If both parents can’t reach an agreement on the terms of the order, the matter is scheduled for a court hearing. During this hearing, a judge receives information from the OAG and makes their final decision regarding the order.

4. Court Hearing Process

Sometimes there are other situations in which a judge may order a hearing for a child support order for reasons other than a stall in negotiations. Some of these situations can include:

  • One of the parents contacts the OAG to advise that they have family violence safety concerns or
  • One of the parents is an underage minor.

If your case is scheduled for a hearing, there are two ways you might receive notice to appear. You might receive formal notice from a legal process server or you will receive your notice by mail. Both methods will include information on your hearing date, time and courthouse location.

Throughout these steps, parents will continually meet with child support officers to find a final agreement on their child support order. When both parents agree to the final version, the child support order is sent to the judge for their signature.

Next Steps

Head over to the Texas OAG website to find their online Child Support Interactive system. Once you have collected both yours and your spouse’s personal identification information, you can easily navigate this online process. You can also use this website to find your nearest OAG Child Support division office.

For more help with child support requirements or other family law questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. Let us help you create the secure infrastructure your children deserve. Do your homework today so that they have a better chance to succeed.

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