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Do I Really Need an Official Child Support Order? 

Posted on in Family Law

Fort Bend Child Support LawyerIf you are a single parent, you know just how difficult it can be to make ends meet. Child-related expenses like medical bills, daycare costs, and education can really add up. This is why the state of Texas often requires parents to provide child support to the other parent.

If you are carrying the costs of raising your child all on your own, you may be tempted to work out an informal child support arrangement with your child's other parent. For example, you may ask the other parent to give you $200 from each paycheck or to help contribute to the child's medical costs.

However, it is important to understand that informal arrangements can be unreliable and difficult to enforce if the other parent decides not to comply. It is highly recommended that those seeking child support have a formal and legally binding order in place.

How to Get a Child Support Order in Houston, Texas

When child support is established through the court, the court has the authority to enforce the order. If you have a handshake agreement with the other parent and he or she stops paying, there is little the court can do for you. To establish child support in Texas, you can file an application with the Office of the Attorney General or petition the court for a child support order.

It is essential that unmarried mothers understand that the father's paternity must be verified before they can get child support. Paternity is the legal recognition of the father-child relationship. If the father denies that he is the father or refuses to cooperate, you may need to ask the court to order a DNA paternity test. This test will confirm the biological relationship between the child and the father.

How Much Are Child Support Payments?

In Texas, child support payments are determined by the number of children and the paying parent's net income. If there is one child, the parent pays 20 percent of his or her net monthly income. If there are two children, the parent pays 25 percent of his or her monthly net income. If there are three children, the parent's obligation is equal to 30 percent of his or her net income.

What If the Other Parent Refuses to Pay?

Not paying court-ordered child support is a serious offense. The court can take various enforcement actions against the parent who refuses to pay, including wage garnishment and driver's license suspension. In some cases, a parent can be charged with a criminal offense and even go to jail for not paying child support. However, these penalties only apply to official child support orders. This is why it is so important to have a formal child support arrangement in place.

Contact our Fort Bend Child Support Lawyer

If you are a single parent in the Houston area and you need help getting child support, contact our skilled Texas child support attorneys for help. We can assist with enforcing child support, establishing paternity, enforcing a child support order, and much more. Call us at 832-919-6400 and set up a consultation to learn more.




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