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How to Get All the Child Support You Deserve

Raising children is expensive. The average cost to raise a child from birth to high school graduation is more than $250,000. When a couple is married, they can split the costs, or one parent can provide services (like daycare) that you would otherwise need to pay for. Single parents will end up paying more throughout a child’s life. For that reason, getting all the child support you are entitled to is critical.

Many parents are not eager to pay support, especially if they don’t have primary custody. We have seen parents hide income or simply quit their job to artificially depress their finances. Other parents stop paying for no reason and cut off all contact. Call The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates. Our League City/Galveston family law attorneys can help you with child support. Below, we highlight some of the most important steps to take to ensure you get all the support you are entitled to under Texas law.

Establish Paternity

This is an essential step if you were not married when you gave birth to your child. A man doesn’t have an obligation to pay child support unless he’s the father in the eyes of the law. A man can voluntarily accept paternity by signing a form. Or you might need to go into court and bring a paternity suit. Ultimately, a judge might order a DNA test to establish paternity and your legal right to child support.

Count the Other Parent’s Income—All of It!

In Texas, child support calculations depend on a few variables. The most important is each parent’s monthly income and the number of children they financially support.

Your ex might be hiding income or trying to artificially deflate it. Some tactics include:

  • Getting paid under the table with cash;
  • Quitting a job;
  • Voluntarily cutting their hours at work;
  • Claiming disability;
  • Retiring early; and
  • Not reporting bonuses and commissions as income.

Parents need to fill out financial forms and submit them during a divorce. We go over your spouse’s submission with a magnifying glass. You can help your case by telling your lawyer about any jobs your ex is working that you know about, or any income they might be hiding.

A judge won’t let a parent get away with trying to rig the system in this manner. For example, a judge might determine that your ex isn’t really trying to earn as much money as he could. The judge would then “impute” a certain amount, representing what the judge believes your ex could reasonably earn on the job market. That imputed number is entered into the calculations.

Nobody knows your ex’s finances as well as you, so please speak up if you suspect the other parent is trying to depress their income.

Notify Your Lawyer of Any Special Needs

Some children have special educational or medical needs. You should let your lawyer know about them. We can request child support for things like:

  • Ongoing medical treatments
  • Speech or behavioral therapy
  • Assistive devices, including wheelchairs
  • Specialized educational expenses
  • Accessibility modifications to the home (e.g., a child is in a wheelchair)

For example, a child with a physical disability could need a ramp installed at home and other changes to the house to allow them to move freely. They could also require ongoing physical therapy, as well as adaptive equipment.

These expenses can be substantial. Judges can depart from the guidelines when the facts warrant it, but your lawyer needs to compile compelling evidence, so let us know of any physical or intellectual disabilities, autism diagnoses, or development delays.

Keep Track of Missed Payments

Many parents breathe a sigh of relief once they get a child support order. But it’s now up to the other parent to pay each month. You should carefully keep track of any missed payments. Even if there is an income withholding order, the other parent could quit their job and start working under the table. Suddenly, the payments end.

You might be tempted to cut off your child’s contact with a parent who refuses to pay. That’s a big mistake, which could carry negative consequences. Instead, reach out to a child support lawyer to discuss sensible steps. We can help with an enforcement action to get payment of past-due support.

An Experienced Child Support Lawyer is Standing By

Being a single parent is hard enough as it is. You shouldn’t have to feel intense financial distress on top of everything else. Call Tad Nelson & Associates to speak with a lawyer about your child support issue.