What is the Texas Family Code and why is it important to understand the recent changes?

If you are thinking of asking the Court for an increase in child support or medical support (health insurance), or if you have just been sued for more child support, you should be aware of some changes to the Texas family law code. Any parent going through a divorce or modification suit should also be aware of these changes. If a suit affecting the parent-child relationship is not handled properly to address all relevant issues, it can be difficult to come back later and ask the Court to change the order. Our attorneys handle divorce, child support, custody, and other kinds of family law matters competently and diligently.

Guidelines the “maximum” for child support will be increased.

Effective September 1, 2019the “maximum” guideline child support will be increased. Courts will now consider the first $9,200.00 of monthly earnings by the person paying child support.  Previously, this amount was capped at $8,550.00. Depending on the number of children eligible for support, this is potentially a substantial increase in monthly child support. This guideline amount is only increased every 6 years as necessary to reflect inflation and is not automatic.  To benefit from this increase, the first step is to ask the court to modify your existing order. To see if you might be eligible to modify your existing order for increased child support, call a qualified child support attorney at Connolly & Shireman in Houston today for a confidential consultation.

Important changes to the way child support can be modified.

Another important change to Texas family law that you should be aware of affects when child support can be modified.  It used to be possible to modify child support every 3 years, or if the monthly support amount changed by 20% or $100 from the Texas Family Code child support guidelines.  Now, beginning September 1, 2018, courts will only be able to modify child support if there has been a “material and substantial change of circumstances” of the child or one of the parents. If you have been sued for increased child support, or to find out whether your family’s circumstances may meet the new legal requirements to modify child support, call Connolly & Shireman and schedule a consultation with one of our Houston family law attorneys today.

Important changes in medical support now include the cost of dental insurance.

Another recent change to the Texas family law code involves medical support (health insurance).  With health insurance costs often going up, these are important laws affecting Texas children. It is presumed that whoever pays child support, also pays for health insurance. Beginning September 1, 2018, medical support now includes the cost of dental insurance. To file a request to add dental coverage to your existing order, scheduled a consultation with a family law attorney at Connolly & Shireman today.

Also, although not new, many parents do not realize that the cost of health insurance is supposed to be deducted from net income in calculating guideline child support.  In addition, health insurance is presumed to be available at a reasonable cost if the cost is 9% or less of the net monthly resources of the parent paying for coverage. Dental insurance is presumed to be available at a reasonable cost if the cost is 1.5% or less of the net monthly resources of the parent paying for coverage. These percentages for health and dental insurance are in addition to, not part of, the percentages of monthly net resources used by courts to calculate guideline child support.  Also, calculating “net monthly resources” is not as simple as looking at a parent’s monthly take-home pay. If you have questions about whether your child support is calculated correctly, call one of our knowledgeable family law attorneys at Connolly & Shireman today.