How Will The Texas Family Law Changes Affect Your Child Support?
Dental Insurance Required.
Effective September 2018! Texas Family Law Change: dental insurance coverage is a must according to the Texas Legislature. In 2015, the state amended the child support section of the Family Code with new law requiring dental insurance to be part of the medical support portion of child support orders. On September 1, 2018, the law takes effect. What does this mean? Additional child support obligations.
Adding dental insurance coverage expands the requirement of medical support beyond the current level of routine medical care. While many parents currently provide dental and even vision coverage when it is offered, up until now if was not mandatory. Now the courts can order dental insurance coverage along with medical support when calculating child support.
if a person is ordered to provide dental insurance and cannot obtain coverage at what the law deems a “reasonable cost”, then the person can be required to pay all dental expenses for the child who is not covered. “Reasonable cost” is defined as 1.5 percent of the annual resources of the child support obligor. The dental premium cost will be deducted from the obligor’s monthly net resources for child support calculation purposes in the exact same manner as health insurance premium costs.
This Texas Family Law Change applies to newly divorcing parents with children or parents who are entering into a new SAPCR (suit affecting the parent child relationship). It also applies to those seeking to modify current orders. If your support order was final before September 1, 2018 this Texas Family Law Change will not effect your current child support orders unless you are seeking to modify them after September 1, 2018.
Other Texas Family Law Change: Child Support Modification Criteria
Also effective September 1, 2018, parents will see changes to the rules surrounding child support modifications. Specifically, the change will affect child support payments that parents have agreed to but which do not follow Texas’ guidelines
Right now, the courts can modify a child support agreement that deviates from guidelines if:
- There has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances of the child or person affected by the order since the original order;
- The parents have come to a different mediated or collaborative law settlement; or
- The income of the obligor changes within three years of the current order, making the monthly child support payments either 20 percent or $100 different than the amount that would have been awarded under the code’s guidelines.
The Texas family law change eliminates number three. The courts will require a material and substantial change in the child’s circumstances or the party’s circumstance to consider a child support modification. It used to be that the parent receiving child support could say, “My husband is making a lot more money now; I want to increase my child support.” Not any more. Not unless there is a material and substantial change.
On the other side of the equation, if the parties have agreed to non-guideline support, it makes it more difficult to change it. For example if a party agrees to a lesser child support amount in exchange for something else, or for another reason, the party will not be able to go back on the deal without showing a material and substantial change in the child’s circumstances or the circumstances of the party.
Even if child support payments differ by 20 percent or $100 from the code’s guidelines after three years, custodial parents will no longer be able to petition the court for an increase in child support payments. The reason this is important is that it effectively eliminates increases in child support based solely on the obligor’s increase in income.
Are you having child support issues? Are you are facing a Divorce or Child Custody case? Do you live in Fort Worth or the surrounding areas of Tarrant County and Parker County? Texas Attorney Bob Leonard is Board Certified in Family Law.
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