Regardless of whether a child’s parents are in a relationship or not, both usually have a legal obligation to financially support the child. In Texas and throughout the United States, it is common for child support payments to be put in place to ensure parents fulfill their obligations in this regard. Here is some general information about child support filings that may be of interest to parents.
What is child support?
Child support is a court-determined monthly payment intended to support a child or children with daily necessities like food, housing, medical expenses and clothing. Child support payments are remitted to the custodial parent. The custodial parent is the person who takes on the majority of care for the child or children and, by consequence, has the most expenses related to the child. It is important to note that child support is a legal requirement, and that there are significant penalties for failure to pay.
What is the process for filing for support?
To file for child support, there must be contact with one’s child support agency. For most, this is the state agency; however, tribal agencies also exist for tribe members. Documents will be required in addition to an application. It is beneficial to work with a lawyer to complete these documents to ensure everything is clear and correct.
What is the average amount of support?
Support amounts can vary depending on a parent’s financial means and the needs of the child. Per a 2015 report, the average amount ordered was just under $500 per month, totaling $5,760 per year. Unfortunately, this report also noted that 21.7% of custodial parents needed to seek help from the government to collect child support, and that this widespread failure to pay lowers the average amount actually received to $3,447 per year.
Getting a fair child support order is important for parents on both sides of the arrangement. Payors may wish to advocate for an amount within their means, while custodial parents must make a case for the amount required to care for the child. As such, it is advisable for both parties to seek legal representation during this process.