When a family faces separation, determining child custody and child support payments can result in challenging circumstances.
Our attorneys can help a parent with custody determine the amount of child support owed and secure payments following a divorce.
The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Arlington, TX, can build the foundation your child needs for a stable financial future.
An Attorney’s Role In Helping You Reach an Agreement
The process of establishing a child support arrangement can be emotionally exhausting, which is why it is important to partner with a child support lawyer.
At The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt, serving the communities of Southlake, Westover Hills, and Arlington, TX, our team can break down the purpose of child support to help you understand the importance of obtaining a child support order.
When you choose our law office, one of our child support attorneys will walk you through the process and discuss how the court determines an order to pay.
Our principal child support lawyer, Donna J. Smiedt, is a Board Certified Family Law Attorney in the state of Texas and will work closely with you to ensure the best interests of your child are put first.
The Process of Determining Child Support
These payments are intended to cover any number of expenses for your children's needs. Texas family law determines the amount of these payments based on the specific facts of your case. Our lawyers can provide you with guidelines that are used as a starting point so that you can have a general understanding of what to expect.
In certain instances, these guidelines may be deviated from in order to reach the proper amount of support. If you have such a case, our Arlington, TX, child support attorneys can assist you in determining proper payments. Regardless of the amount, child support orders for our clients are meant to benefit the wellbeing of the children involved.
Arlington Child Support Lawyer Practicing Since 1986
Our law office is led by Texas Board of Legal Specialization Board Certified Family Law Attorney, Donna J. Smiedt. When it comes to child support lawyers in Arlington, Southlake, and Westover Hills, you will be hard-pressed to find a team of attorneys more dedicated to their clients than those at The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt. Our lawyers can help determine a child support amount that is feasible for the paying parent while serving the child's best interests.
Regardless of your needs, our attorneys are here for you, whether establishing child support after a divorce or separation, enforcement of child support payments, or a child support modification. Our compassionate child support lawyers can provide the counsel you need when you need it most.
To schedule an appointment with one of our Arlington, TX, attorneys, contact us online or call:
Donna and her team are amazing to work with. I felt she knew exactly what I was going through and very compassionate! Lisa Jennings - 5 Star Google Review
When is Child Support Granted?
Sometimes a couple cannot work out their differences and the relationship ends in divorce. In Texas, most cases see one parent granted child custody. In such cases, the parent without custody will have to pay child support. The needs of the children and the financial ability of the parents to pay are taken into consideration when support is ordered by a Texas court during a divorce. To determine payments, the court will first reference the child support guidelines and then review any extenuating circumstances. Parents should expect to provide financial information to the court for review during this process. The final order must be followed, regardless of whether the parent with custody allows visitation.
When parents decide to separate, issues regarding custody and support must still be made. The same factors that come into play during divorce are also reviewed when parents separate in Texas, but the type of lawsuit is different. It is possible to file an action for child support without also filing for divorce. The standard remains the same in these matters as what parties would face in a divorce. The attorneys at our Arlington, TX, law office can provide the same level of assistance during a separation as we do in a divorce.
If you are considering an action to establish paternity, part of that case should include a request for child support. Once the court determines parentage, it is appropriate to seek an award of child support. It is important to remember that a paternity action in Texas is about more than just obtaining an award of child support. Establishing paternity also gives the father and child a chance to build a relationship and form an emotional bond that can last a lifetime. Our Arlington, TX, lawyers gladly help fathers who have established paternity build these relationships.
Child Support is
More Common Than You Think
The Purpose of Child Support
In Texas, child support payments are intended to be used only for the benefit and care of your child. The parent receiving support is permitted to make the decision as to what the payments cover. Keeping the payments separate from other assets is not a requirement for receiving child support. A few examples of what child support payments can be used for include:
Medical and Healthcare Needs
Your child's health is of the utmost importance. Expenses required to help them stay healthy such doctor office visits, co-pays, prescriptions medication costs, the employee portion of health insurance provided by an employer, or any other cost associated with the healthcare and medical needs of the child all qualify for child support funds.
The importance of a good education cannot be understated. A high-quality education can make all the difference in your child's future. Costs that may reflect education expenses such as tuition costs, expenses for tutors, or test preparation courses can all pay dividends towards the long-term wellbeing of your child as they make their way through the education system.
When it comes to higher education, extracurricular activities can make a significant contribution towards being granted entry into a top-tier school. To provide your child with a diverse resume of extracurricular activities, relevant expenses such as registration fees for camps, sports, music lessons, entry fees for dance competitions, and the cost of equipment can assist in your child's success.
It may seem obvious, but basic necessities are covered by child support as well. Mortgage payments, rent, electrical and utility bills, clothing, transportation costs, and other expenses related to maintaining a healthy home environment are fundamental to allow your child to thrive.
Questions About Child Support? Our Firm Can Walk You Through the Process
Setting up child support can be draining and complicated, but you don’t want to miss essential cost factors that can play into your child’s future. Donna J. Smiedt and our team of family lawyers have handled child support cases for several years, so we can help you avoid the common pitfalls and mistakes that parents can make when determining child support.
Our practice in Arlington, TX, can provide the guidance and knowledge you need to determine a fair arrangement that benefits your child. We can answer your questions. Contact our law office today or give us a call at:
Donna is the most caring, compassionate and qualified attorney I’ve ever met. She always looks out for her clients and goes the extra mile. I can’t recommend her highly enough. Thank you for everything. Renee Lundgren - 5 Star Google Review
How Is Child Support Calculated in Texas?
Texas law establishes some guidelines for determining how much child support is paid. Child support payments are based on the following basic guidelines:
Not less than 40%
As an example, if the noncustodial parent's average monthly net resources equal $4,000, the monthly child support payment would be $800.
If the noncustodial parent is paying for medical and dental insurance or other health expenses, they will receive credit for what they contribute for health care. Keep in mind that these child support guidelines may be different if the noncustodial parent has other children or has a low income.
Parents can agree to pay more than the basic guideline amount. However, they can't agree to pay less if they do not have a low income. In addition, the court must approve the amount for child support payments.
What Can Affect Your Amount of Child Support?
Challenging Texas Guideline Child Support
Steps We Can Take
Child support guidelines are just that: guidelines. In some cases the child support calculation isn't fair and doesn't serve the best interests of the child.
When these situations arise, you need the assistance of a child support lawyer. An attorney can outline why the current child support obligations are not a fair representation of the financial support your family needs.
The child support lawyers at The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt understand what can throw the calculations off. Based on your situation, our lawyers can determine if the state's existing child support guidelines are the right fit for your family.
If we find that the current child support obligation is not sufficient or feasible, our lawyers can prepare documentation to show the courts why the amount should be adjusted.
Factors courts consider when adjusting child support obligations:
- Financial resources and debts
- The time the child spends with each parent
- The receiving parent's net resources
- Alimony payments/spousal support
- Any cash flow from property or other assets
- If a parent has additional work benefits, such as housing or a company car
A Child Support Agreement Is a Roadmap for Your Child's Future Get it right. Call for a Consultation.
When it comes to child support, it's important to put down the child's needs in writing. This will help both parents understand what child support will cover, and what it won't.
For example, if your child is in a public elementary school, you may not give much thought to education costs. However, your child may want to participate in extracurricular activities as they get older, such as band or sports. Those activities, while enriching, often come with a price tag. Does your support agreement outline whether those costs are included in your payments?
Child support will be a factor in your life for years to come. It's important to get it right from the start. Donna J. Smiedt has the legal knowledge you need to create a clear path for your child's future. If you have questions about building financial stability for your child, leave us a message online or give us a call:
Donna, I cannot thank you enough for the job you did on Wednesday...thank you for giving my kids their mom back. I went from supervised visitation 4 days a month with $919/mo child support to 50/50 custody and no child support. Bob was right about you and I told him so. Jennifer Delamora, 5-Star Review
Can I Withhold Payments
If I Am Being Denied Visitation Rights?
Oftentimes, our child support attorneys encounter a parent withholding payments when their co-parent denies contact with their child. Visitation and support do not go hand in hand. A parent may have justification to refuse support payments for being denied visitation, but to do so on your own is against Texas state law. The correct approach is to continue making payments and file a contempt action with the court. A parent can also refuse visitation when payments are not made, but again, these changes must be made through the proper legal channels.
If you are facing one of these conflicts, it is in both the interest of you and your child to contact our Arlington, TX, lawyers. We will listen to your situation and help you work through the legal process.
Focused on What Is Best
for Your Child
Contact Our Arlington Law Office Today
Child custody and child support go hand in hand. If you are not receiving adequate support from your co-parent, the team of attorneys at The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt strives to provide your child with the resources necessary to live a full and happy life. The team of attorneys at our law office understands that any number of issues can arise when it comes to family law matters. Our compassionate attorneys will do whatever we can to help reduce the stress and anxiety that can accompany a conflict with your co-parent. To schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers in Arlington, TX, contact us online or call:
We hired Donna Smiedt to handle a very contentious child custody case in 2010. From the day we signed on to have Donna represent us we have received excellent representation and results. Donna has represented us well and listened to all of our needs and requests. Donna was professional and reassured us that our case would be taken care of... Ed McKiernan - 5 Star Google Review
What If My Child Support Payments
Are Not Being Used Properly?
The line can easily become blurred when determining if a parent has used support payments as intended. There is a lot of discretion given to the parent receiving the payments, which can make it difficult for the non-custodial parent to rest assured the payments are being used for a proper purpose. The test for what is considered proper will center on whether your child benefited from the funds, and if your child’s needs are being met.
If there is a disagreement or question as to whether support payments are being misused, the payor is not allowed to simply stop paying, rather a motion with the court must be filed and evidence of the alleged abuse presented. If this is the case, our Arlington, TX, child support lawyers can assist the paying parent with this process.
Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support in Texas
What if I have stopped receiving child support payments?
You may find yourself in a situation where you need an attorney to involve the court in order to enforce a support order. If payments are not being made, the state of Texas has a process to ensure you receive the payments your child is entitled to. Our Arlington, TX, attorneys can help you work through this process.
How long does it take to receive your first child support check?
After the child support order becomes official, the State Disbursement Unit (based in San Antonio) will process your payment as soon as they receive it from the other party. The average wait time for mailed is around 5-7 business days, but this timeframe can vary depending on where you live. Direct deposit is faster and typically takes 3-5 business days.
What is retroactive child support?
Retroactive child support, sometimes called “back child support,” is when a parent pays for a period of time when they should have been paying child support. This timeframe may have been before the support payments were formally set up. Texas courts can decide that retroactive support is within the child’s best interest and order payments dating back to the day when the child’s parents separated. Our board-certified family lawyer can help you determine whether you’re entitled to retroactive support.
Does getting married affect child support payments?
If the child’s parents or guardians marry, the marriage typically does not affect child support payments. The main situation where marriage can affect child support is when the parents marry or remarry each other and take care of the child. This would combine their incomes and eliminate the need for support payments.
Can Social Security benefits impact child support?
Yes, Social Security benefits can impact the amount of child support that a parent has to pay, but only if they started receiving these benefits after the initial child support guidelines were set. Disability insurance, survivor benefits, retirement, and forms of Social Security should be factored into the initial child support payments. If one of the parents begins receiving Social Security after the amount of child support has been set, then you should contact our lawyers to see if you qualify for modified support.
Donna represented me with my divorce and child custody case. She was always professional and helpful. I never felt like she was judging me and I appreciated it immensely. Her knowledge of the law and the family court system was very good. Her office staff have always been professional and helpful too. Ross Dunk - 5 Star Review - 2022