One of the most traumatic things in a person’s life is a separation or divorce. A couple goes from sharing their house, their incomes, their utility bills to having everything split into separate households and separate lives. While it is disruptive for the spouses involved, it is even more disruptive for children that are caught in the middle of a marriage winding down. A child faces the uncertainty of where they will live, who will primarily be responsible for them and most importantly, how they will maintain a close relationship with two people who have chosen to no longer be a part of each other’s lives. In order to protect children during this disruptive time, the state has outlined guidelines for parents to follow, ensuring that children will receive financial support to fulfill their basic needs. This is called child support. While it may be hard to think objectively in the middle of a divorce, both spouses should try and recognize that child support is different from alimony or property distribution. Child support is a responsibility to be fulfilled for the best interests of the child. Collecting child support does not mean revenge or punishment for those who are giving or receiving it. It should be viewed as a commitment to care for one’s child.
Child Support in Texas
The federal government requires all states to have calculation guideline for child support orders. However, it is the state that has the responsibility of creating and implementing these guidelines. In the state of Texas, it is usually the non-custodial parent that provides child support, amounting to roughly 20% of the payer’s net income for one child, 25% for two children and 30% for three children, going up till a maximum of 40%. In addition, the parent providing child support may also be responsible for providing health insurance coverage.
Child Support Enforcement
Child support begins with an order for support from a state family court. If both parties cannot agree on an amount, the court will decide adhering to state guidelines. Payments are normally due regularly, on a monthly basis, and may be deducted directly from the paying person’s salary. In the state of Texas, the Office of the Attorney General enforces child support payments, in addition to establishing court orders for financial and medical support, as well as establishing paternity, where necessary.
In the event that child support is due but not paid, the Child Support Division of the Attorney General’s office will use various techniques to enforce the payment of child support, including:
- withholding wages
- holding state or federal income tax refunds
- suspending driver’s other professional licenses
- filing a lawsuit to enforce payment
Unfortunately, many people do neglect their child support obligations because they feel it is unfair, unjustified or simply because of anger and frustration. Because child support is considered a responsibility, the withholding or non-payment of it is prosecuted, resulting in possible jail time. Change & Termination of Child Support. Child support may be reviewed every three years and can only be changed by the courts, based on a change in circumstances of the child or paying parent. Child support is usually payable until a child reaches the age of 18 or before he or she gets married or enlists in the military.
Bailey & Galyen, Your Family Law Attorneys
If you or someone you know is going through child support related issues, our certified family law specialists at Bailey & Galyen can help figure out the best options to swiftly establish, adjust or collect child support. Our lawyers have represented a variety of cases involving child support in Texas with successful results.
Orders of Protection
An Order of Protection is an order issued from the civil court to protect an individual from abuse or harassment. Such an order is available to anyone who feels they are being threatened and are in danger of their spouse, blood relatives or previous domestic partners. An order of protection is also available to protect children present in one’s home or household.
How Can an Order of Protection help?
An Order of Protection helps ensure future assaults by making it clear to the abuser that they cannot come near the person who has asked for protection. In order to get an order of protection in Texas, the following must somehow be proved:
- The person abusing you is or was in the past, a family or household member or someone you have dated.
- Violence in some form of a physical assault or threat of physical assault has occurred
- Another act of violence is likely to occur again in the future.
In Texas there exists three types of Orders of Protection:
1.Temporary Ex Parte Order This provides immediate protection form the alleged abuser until a permanent protective order is issued after a court hearing with the abuser present.
2. Permanent Protective Order This order is a final order that can be enforced for up to two years, asking the abuser to put a stop to all threats and abusive behavior.
3. Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection (also known as an Emergency Protective Order). This type of order is requested when the abuser is in jail and is about to be released. Such an order is good for 31-61 days.
Bailey & Galyen, Your Texas Divorce and Family Law Attorneys
Bailey & Galyen’s experienced attorneys can guide clients through filing an Order of protection or if they have been served one. Our skilled attorneys will use their best possible strategies of the law to get a positive outcome. Call us today to see how we can make your case a successful one too!
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