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Surviving an economic downturn: how child support division helps families
by Greg Abbott, Texas Attorney General
Mar 28, 2010 | 755 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Virtually everyone is affected in some way by the nation’s economic slump. Each day brings new reports of industry downsizing, factory closures and job losses. Although Texas’ unemployment rate is below the national average, many families are having a tough time making ends meet.

The Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Division can help improve the financial picture for parents who need or pay child support. Single parents who have custody of their children may suddenly need the extra help that child support provides, and our office will assist them by establishing a child support order or enforcing an existing order.

Parents who pay child support may be struggling because the amount of their court-ordered payment no longer matches their income. The CSD can help those parents modify, or change, the amount of their court-ordered child support payment.

In Texas, judges follow guidelines in the law when setting the amount of the child support payment. In most cases, non-custodial parents pay a percent of their net income each month, ranging from 20 percent for one child to not less than 40 percent for six or more children. Special rules apply for parents with a net monthly income greater than $7,500, and in cases of joint placement or multiple children in different households. Each child support order also includes the obligation to provide medical support.

To obtain information about changing the amount of a child support order, parents are encouraged to visit the child support section of the OAG’s Web site, www.texasattorneygeneral.gov, where they will find answers to frequently asked questions on the subject. Parents who believe they are due a modification can use the child support calculator to compute the monthly payment amount, based on information they enter about their current earnings and family situation.

Parents whose orders may qualify for a modification can complete an online form to request a review of their case. A review can also be requested by contacting their local child support office.

Non-custodial parents who lose their jobs should immediately notify the child support office handling their case. If requesting a modification, it is important to show evidence of seeking work. Remember that only a court can change the amount a parent is ordered to pay.
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