Texas Law Practice, Zinda & Davis, Comments On New Information About Upcoming Changes to Child Support Laws

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Family law attorneys at Zinda & Davis expect more child support cases to be contested in court due to changes in the Texas child support laws.

The parent with primary custody of the children could suddenly move from receiving $1500 per month for one child to $1710 in instances where the guidelines have been applied.

According to Austin family law attorney, Holly R. Davis, the new changes in § 154.125(b) of the Texas Family Code may cause quite a stir among couples with children who are currently thinking about or going through a divorce. It may also cause those with current support orders to seek changes. The changes to the statute take effect on September 1, 2013. The upcoming change in the law has even caused some parents to wait until September 1, 2013 to initiate or re-open a child custody matter.

Today’s child support laws provide a specific table of percentages based on the monthly net resources of the parent who owes child support. Under the current law there is a ‘soft’ cap where the first $7,500.00 of an obligor’s net resources is used to calculate an appropriate amount of support. It is a soft cap because there are certain circumstances where it is appropriate to deviate upwards from the child support cap. This is an important distinction for parents who previously understood they would only be permitted to request a maximum of $1,500.00 in child support for one child. The cap is now being raised to a percentage of $8,550.00 of an obligor’s net resources. This change in the law could make a significant difference to the amount of child support received.
The child support guidelines are as follows:

  •     1 child 20% of Obligor’s Net Resources
  •     2 children 25% of Obligor’s Net Resources
  •     3 children 30% of Obligor’s Net Resources
  •     4 children 35% of Obligor’s Net Resources
  •     5 children 40% of Obligor’s Net Resources
  •     6+ children Not less than the amount for 5 children

According to Holly R. Davis, Managing Partner for the Family Law Group at Zinda & Davis, “The parent with primary custody of the children could suddenly move from receiving $1500 per month for one child to $1710 in instances where the guidelines have been applied. These changes have couples concerned about their future and their finances. In order for parents to reap the benefit of this change in the law they would need to make a request of the Court, the change in the law does not automatically change any already existing court order.” This reality may result in an immediate and substantial increase in the number of child support cases contested in court.

As in the past, the court system will continue to deal with those who are deliberately unemployed or underemployed for the purposes of avoiding paying child support. § 154.066 of the Texas Family Code permits Judges to apply the child support guidelines to the earning potential of the obligor rather than actual earnings.

According to Christopher M. Kirker, Senior Associate Family Law Attorney at Zinda and Davis, “Courts take seriously the obligation and duty of support a parent owes to a child. Purposeful underemployment by a parent- for the purpose of avoiding an obligation of child support- can and should be brought to the attention of the Court. Section 154.066 gives a Court the ability to address purposeful underemployment and hold parents to their responsibility of financially supporting their child.”

Parents who have questions about the upcoming changes or who believe their spouse may be deliberately trying to avoid paying the full amount of child support should contact a qualified Texas family law attorney.

About Zinda & Davis PLLC
Zinda & Davis PLLC provides highly skilled legal services to individuals throughout the state of Texas. The firm is committed to giving every case top-notch legal representation. If you are concerned about child support payments either now or in the future, contact a family law attorney. Zinda & Davis offers a free initial consultation.

For more information, please visit: http://www.zdfamilylaw.com

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