We are open again for business at the beautiful brick and mortar location! Although we are very conscious of the COVID-19 risks, we understand that people especially need family lawyers at this time. After practicing in the area a family law for 33 years and being board-certified for 28 of those years, I have a keen awareness of how the current situation has deeply affected marriages and children in our community. We stand ready and able to service our ongoing clients in our newly disinfected office wherein we now require that all visitors submit their forehead for a contactless temperature reading to protect our work family and yours. We do require that you wear a mask as prescribed by federal, county and city regulations. When I built my office in 2013 I incurred  the additional monies to ensure that all visitors were safe from the spreading of germs and bacteria by installing high tech visitor restrooms with touchless water, soap and dryers, I had no idea that this would be such an added layer of safety for our clients and employees during this pandemic.  This foresight gives us the ability to provide you with the highest standard of cleanliness and low risk for infection when you visit our beautiful, SPACIOUS office, in person where we can comply with social distancing with no problem whatsoever. We are accepting new clients at this time and have instituted new policies for receiving payments online as well as having our intake forms as easy PDF fillable documents as well as giving you the opportunity to provide us with all of your evidence and other important documentation by sending same via electronic transmission. We have all of our clients’ private and confidential  information saved and protected, while being accessible to the staff through our extremely secure Cloud Client Platform and Portal hosted by legal industry giant, ThomsenReuters. For this reason, during the stay at home sheltering orders we were one of the few law firms in the county to already have transitioned to a virtual Law Firm. This permitted our brilliant and innovative family law attorneys to continue to seamlessly provide the very best legal representation to the DFW population which we serve. We are able to represent clients not only in Tarrant County, but all surrounding counties such as Johnson, Dallas, Collin, Kaufman and Parker. 

I have handpicked the most competent, experienced and hard working support staff to flawlessly meet the needs of our clients as a full-service family law firm. We have recently been named as one of the top 20 divorce law firms in Arlington! I have garnered many honors over my many years of practice, including being named as Top Attorney in Fort Worth for over a decade each year and I have twice been selected by my peers as a “Super Lawyer” of Texas, an honor reserved for an extremely small percentage of Texas lawyers. Although I am proud of all of these accolades, this would mean nothing to my clients if I had not concentrated on a mission of using my decades of experience to build my law form into a well organized business utilizing the most cutting edge technological tools to represent my clients in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. This goal has served me well during this ongoing epidemic. My goal is to provide the most excellent t legal services to all of the community at a cost that does not bankrupt a client. 

If you are at high risk to contract Coronavirus or prefer to have all of your contact with our office in virtual form, we are set up on Zoom for immediate consultations for new clients. My Mission Statement has always been: “When It comes to your family and your finances, experience matters!” These words are more true now than ever. During these uncertain times I wanted to reach out to our community and assure your that because of my many years of practice, I had already built in all of the safeguards to enable our brilliant lawyers and awesome paralegals to continue the essential work that they do from home during the height of the pandemic. I wanted to put the word out there that we stand ready and able to meet all of your family law needs, now more than ever. We are also still offering our simple Estate Planning Kit at a greatly reduced price to give back to the community that has been so wonderful and supportive over the last 33 years as I built one of the best family law firms in the State. Prayers to all of you during these frightening times, and please remember that we have the experience and technology to best serve you, our important clients who are the reason for our continued existence and survival.  At the end of the day, no business is more essential than a family law firm with a  dedicated team ready to shepherd you through any crisis that you and your family are experiencing. Please reach out to us if you need help now at ArlingtonDivorces.com or call (817) 572-9900 and Amanda can get you set up to meet with us to give you advice immediately,

Reaching a Child Support 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 attorney. At The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Arlington, TX, we can fully explain the purpose of child support, walk you through the process, and discuss how the court comes up with an order to pay. Donna is a Board Certified Family Law Attorney and she will work closely with you to ensure the best interests of your child are put first.

Silhouette of parent and child holding hands

We can stand by your family's side and ensure that your child's best interests remain protected.

The Child Support Process

Simply put, child support is paid by the non-custodial parent to the parent with custody. The payments are intended to cover expenses for items your children need, and the amount depends on the specific facts of your case. There are guidelines in place that are used as a starting point, and in some cases, these guidelines are deviated from in order to reach the proper amount of support. 

One thing all child support orders for our Arlington clients have in common is that they are entered for the benefit of the children, but that is where the similarities end. There are several different types of cases where child support is appropriate, such as:

Divorce

When parents divorce and one parent is granted custody, the non-custodial parent 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 during a divorce. The court will start by looking at the support guidelines and then take any extenuating circumstances into account. The parties should expect to provide their financial data to the court for review during this process. The final order must be followed, regardless of whether the custodial parent allows visitation.

Donna has been practicing since 1986 and will fully handle your legal needs so that you can focus on what matters most–your children.

Many times, the non-custodial parent stops making child support payments when visitation is withheld. However, the correct approach is to continue making payments and file a contempt action with the court. Visitation and support do not go hand in hand, where the parties can refuse support payments for being denied visitation or refuse visitation when payments are not made. In either instance, it is best to contact our Arlington office and explain the situation, so a judicial remedy can be pursued.

Separation

When parents decide to separate, issues regarding custody and support are still made. The same factors that come into play during divorce are also reviewed when parents separate, 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 the parties see in a divorce–that the best interests of the children are the top priority.

Paternity

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 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.

You might also find yourself in a situation where you need the court’s involvement to enforce a support order. If payments are not being made, you do have remedies. Our Arlington firm can help with your child support needs, whatever type of case you are facing.

writing a check

Donna can help determine a child support amount that is feasible for the paying parent while serving the child's best interests.

How Can Child Support Be Used?

Child support payments are intended for the child, and are to be used only for the benefit and care of the child. That said, the recipient is permitted to make the decision as to what the support payments cover, and is not required to keep the payments separate from other funds. Proper use of child support payments includes paying for:

  • Medical and healthcare needs: This might include doctor office visit 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.
  • Educational expenses: Education can include tuition, costs and expenses for tutors, or test preparation courses.
  • Extracurricular activities: These include registration fees for camps, the cost of a sports uniform, entry fees for dance competitions, and the cost of equipment for activities.
  • Utility bills and housing: This could be applied to the mortgage payment, rent, electrical bills, and other costs related to maintaining a healthy home environment.
  • Food and clothing: These basic necessities can obviously be covered using child support as well.

The line can easily become blurred when determining if a parent has used support payments as intended. 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. 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. 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. 

Why Choose Our Firm?

Donna has been practicing law since 1986 and is a Board Certified Family Law attorney. She has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1991. With a full understanding of the issues that often arise in family law matters, our Arlington firm works for you and for your children so that you focus on what matters most.

Contact Us For Help

Let us help you with your child support needs today. We offer an environment that reduces the stress and anxiety that so often accompanies these types of cases, and even have therapy dogs in our office for your comfort. Our Arlington office can be reached online, or by calling (817) 572-9900.

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Arlington Office

3216 W Arkansas Ln
Arlington, TX 76016

Open Today 9:00am - 5:00pm

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(817) 572-9900