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Staying abreast of changes in child support calculations

Being a parent is not easy. It doesn't get any easier if you happen to be an unmarried or divorced parent. Meeting child support obligations can pose significant challenges. Texas law seeks to provide a formula to structure plans that equitably reflect the best interests of the children based on how much each parent earns and how much time each spends with the children.

Still there often are disputes. And, every once in a while, as the realities of life change, lawmakers tweak the formulas. Just such changes are due to take effect this year and so we offer a brief look at some of the more significant alterations coming.

As is always the case, if you are considering divorce and exploring solutions that best suit your unique needs, consult with an experienced attorney. And if you are a parent with questions of child support, it's vital to understand what new obligations the law requires, when they become effective, and how they may influence your efforts.

The provisions on child support in Texas law appear in Chapter 154 of the family code. This statute explains that, barring specific agreement by the parents or some special circumstance, monthly support payments are determined by calculating the net monthly resources available to the noncustodial parent. Then, depending on the number of children involved, a percentage of that amount, capped at 40 percent, goes to support.

Paying for medical insurance is included in the calculations. Starting Sept. 1, obligor parents must also cover dental insurance for their children. In both cases, the law calls for the premium costs to be deducted from the net monthly resources of the obligor so that there is no double hit.

In addition, the law will restrict when courts can modify support orders reached by parental agreement only to times when a child's circumstances have materially or substantially changed. This currently happens automatically if changes occur within three years of an original order, but that window will close.

Computing child support can be complicated and change in the law makes for more confusion – especially for those who enter these legal waters unprepared.

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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