Parents in Texas may have questions about how child support is determined. Each child support case is unique and is dependent on the family’s circumstances, however there is helpful basic information available about the process.
Establishing paternity is one of the most important parts of the child support process. When parents are unmarried, the child’s biological father does not have rights to the child until paternity is established.
Sometimes the court will order an alleged father to take a paternity test, but paternity can also be established voluntarily by completing an acknowledgment document.
A child support order establishes financial support for the child as well as medical and dental coverage. In Texas, child support orders also include custody and visitation arrangements.
If parents can agree on all of these items, they can establish a child support order without going to court. If they cannot agree, a judge can make a final determination regarding the order. However, this may take more time to complete and may require more than one visit to court to resolve all of the issues.
Parents who do not pay child support may face penalties. These include driver’s and professional license suspensions, a lien put on their accounts and having unpaid support reported to credit bureau agencies. In more serious situations, the parent who fails to pay may be found in contempt of court, fined and/or jailed.
There are many factors that are considered when determining child support and it’s important that the process is completed correctly. An experienced attorney can provide guidance and answer parents’ questions.