San Antonio Child Support Attorneys
Protecting the best interests of your child in South Texas
Matters of child support often become one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. Every parent wants the best for their child, but parents also want to ensure that they aren’t paying more than their fair share. Divorcing couples may disagree on the proper amount of child support, and when these disputes become too much to handle, emotions and anger can get in the way of what’s really important – what your child needs and deserves.
The San Antonio attorneys at Grable Grimshaw PLLC can help. Our divorce lawyers have considerable experience helping couples in South Texas work out child support issues, keeping the best interests and well-being of your family in mind. We want to help you find a solution, whether that means working with you and your spouse through mediation or representing you in court. Let us know your concerns and we will let you know how we can assist you.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"Matt Grimshaw was my attorney concerning my child support case. He explained thoroughly what needed to be done and he always kept me abreast of what was going on with my case. Mr. Grimshaw was always very professional and easy-going. I could not have found a better attorney to handle my situation. I highly recommend this law firm." – Richard A.
What is child support?
According to the Texas Attorney General, “a child support order establishes the amount of child, medical and dental support a noncustodial parent must pay each month. In Texas, child support orders also address conservatorship (custody) and possession and access time (visitation).”
Texas child support guidelines take several factors into consideration, including:
- The monthly resources of each parent
- The number of children a parent is supporting
- The type of child custody order in place (specifying whether the child spends equal or unequal time with each parent)
- Whether alimony is being paid
Child support is required whether or not a couple is, or was, married. Texas law requires when two people have a child together, the non-custodial parent pay child support. Under this law, “parents” are generally defined as the biological mother and their spouse or partner, or an adoptive parent. However, every family is unique, and our attorneys can consult with you regarding matters of paternity.
How much child support is required in Texas?
Texas courts use a standard formula when determining child support, and base specific calculations on each parent’s net income and resources. They adjust their numbers every six years to account for inflation. Their guidelines are as follows, based on the monthly net resources of the payee (or obligor):
- 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
For obligors with monthly income under $1,000, these percentages all drop by five. All of these numbers, however, are subject to change at the court’s discretion.
How long does child support last?
Texas family code states that child support ends when the child either turns 18 or when they graduate high school, whichever comes later. There are several exceptions to this law:
- If a child has mental or physical disabilities that require continuous medical care, they are entitled to child support indefinitely.
- If a child becomes legally emancipated before age turning 18 – either by getting married, joining the military, or petitioning the court – child support is terminated.
- Other exceptions include if the child passes away or if the obligor suffers an exceptional medical crisis.
Who pays child support if we have shared custody?
Here in Texas, there is no set formula to determine child support when you and your co-parent have 50/50 custody (also called “possession”). In cases like these, parents are free to come up with a support plan on their own, if they are willing and able to do so. Our attorneys can help you design a child support agreement that meets your family’s needs. Remember, however, that the courts always work in favor of the child’s best interests, and will not sign off on an order that does not benefit your child.
Often, the court chooses to resolve the situation using a method called offset child support. They will require the higher-earning party to pay offset child support to the lower-earning party. This is the difference between what each parent’s child support obligations would be, had either of them been responsible to pay. The court calculates this using the previously-mentioned formulas, then subtracts the lower amount from the higher amount. The remaining amount is the obligor’s child support payment.
Our San Antonio attorneys are happy to explain this in more detail.
What happens if a parent doesn’t pay child support?
The courts do not look favorably on unpaid child support, no matter what the reason. If you are unable to meet your obligations, contact the Texas Child Support Division as soon as possible. As they say, “If you ignore your obligation and don't communicate with the Child Support Division, you're more likely to receive enforcement actions from the Office of the Attorney General.”
If your child’s parent is refusing to make payments, the attorneys at Grable Grimshaw can help. We can negotiate with the other parent, but in the event that fails, we can enforce a court order from the Attorney General. These actions include:
- License suspension, including drivers, professional, hunting, and fishing licenses
- Passport denial
- Liens on properties, bank accounts, retirement plans, claims and settlements, and other assets
- Reporting arrears to credit bureaus
- Interception of lottery winnings
- Civil or criminal charges
We can also help if you are a parent having trouble paying child support. Never simply ignore the payments – they will catch up with you. In some cases, you may be eligible for a child support modification.
Do I have to pay child support if I’m being denied visitation?
Yes. Child support and child custody orders are separate issues and one does not depend on the other. Both parents must obey court orders. The custodial parent must allow you visitation, and you must pay your child support in full. If you need assistance with visitation, contact the San Antonio attorneys at Grable Grimshaw for guidance. In the meantime, continue paying your child support as usual.
Can I have my child support order changed or modified?
In some cases, yes. If you have experienced a significant change in circumstances, the court will consider an order modification. Either the obligor or oblige can request a modification from the court. You must show the court that you’ve had a “material and substantial change” in circumstances since your child support order was established. Texas defines this change as one of the following situations:
- The non-custodial parent’s income has decreased or increased
- The non-custodial parent is responsible for supporting additional children
- The child’s medical insurance coverage or medical needs have changed
You can also request a child support order modification if the child is now living with a different parent.
Our San Antonio attorneys can help you negotiate a child support order modification, or represent you in a hearing. Remember, informal or verbal changes to your child support agreement are not enforceable through the court – always work with a lawyer when you want to alter any type of legal order.
Talk to our skilled San Antonio child support lawyers today
We understand that working out matters of child support and custody can be challenging. The attorneys at Grable Grimshaw PLLC are here to help. Whether you need assistance filing for child support, enforcing non-payment, or negotiating during divorce proceedings, look to us for experienced and knowledgeable support. To set up a consultation in our San Antonio offices, call 210-963-5297 or fill out our contact form. We’re proud to serve clients throughout South Texas.