All parents in Texas have certain rights and duties, with the exception of parents who have had those rights stripped by a court of law. This means that even if you are not the custodial parent and are not living with your child, you still have the right to petition the court for visitation with your child. What’s more, you also have the duty to provide for the child financially.
Typically, in order to satisfy the requirement to provide for one’s child financially, courts will issue an order that mandates that the noncustodial parent make recurring child support payments. Consider the following information about what you should know about Texas child support laws for noncustodial parents–
Your Rights and Obligations Start with Establishing Paternity
Mothers of children are automatically granted parental rights, as biological parentage is obvious. The same is not true for fathers. In fact, if a child is born out of wedlock, both parents will need to sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity form, or will need to petition the court for a court order to establish paternity.
If paternity is not established, then a father will have no legal rights pertaining to a child. A father whose paternity has not be established can also not be asked to make child support payments.
Determining Child Support Guidelines
Once it has been established who the parents of a child are and with whom the child will live, the court will order the noncustodial parent to make child support payments. While it is often assumed that only fathers are asked to make these payments, about 10 percent of noncustodial parents in Texas are mothers, according to a Handbook for Noncustodial Parents published by the Texas Attorney General.
The amount of child support that a noncustodial parent will be asked to pay is based, in large part, on the noncustodial parent’s net income. To be sure, the guidelines state that:
● One child is entitled to 20 percent of the noncustodial parent’s net income;
● Two children are entitled to 25 percent of the noncustodial parent’s net income;
● Three children are entitled to 30 percent of the noncustodial parent’s net income;
It should be noted, however, that ultimately, a court has a final decision on the amount of child support that a noncustodial parent is asked to pay. If special circumstances exist in a case, for example, if a child has special needs, the court may deviate from the standard guidelines. The monthly child support calculator can be used to get a rough idea of how much a child support obligation may be.
Texas Child Support Noncustodial Parents – What Happens if a Child Support Obligation Isn’t Met?
When a court orders a noncustodial parent to make child support payments, the decision is a court order that is non-negotiable. If a party stops making child support payments, there will likely be serious consequences. In fact, the court can ask an employer to garnish the wages of a noncustodial parent who has defaulted on payments, can garnish funds directly from a bank account, and can even without an income tax return. What’s more, a person can even be held in contempt of court, and may even face arrest in serious cases.
It is important that you understand, however, that not paying child support does not mean that the custodial parent can refuse to let you see your child. Noncustodial parent rights in Texas allow the noncustodial parent to have access to their child, per the terms of a court order, regardless of support obligation. If either party wishes to change the terms of a child custody or support order, they must seek a modification with the court.
Learn More About Texas Child Support Laws for Noncustodial Parents
If you are a noncustodial parent in Texas and you have been asked to make child support payments or you have questions about your parental rights, our legal team at the Law Office of Ben Carrasco can help. Not only is our lawyer highly experienced in family law and the laws pertaining to child custody and support, but Attorney Ben Carrasco is also sensitive to the delicate nature of child support and custody cases and knows how to navigate these matters in a careful yet aggressive manner.
To schedule a consultation with the Law Office of Ben Carrasco to start learning more about noncustodial parent rights in Texas, please call us directly or fill out the contact form on our website and we’ll get in touch with you shortly for a case review.