When the parents of a minor child live together, both parents are assumed to be contributing to the financial support and emotional growth of the child. If the parents decide to end the marriage, or otherwise live apart, the law imposes a legal obligation on both parents to continue to contribute to the child’s support and maintenance. For the non-custodial parent, this is accomplished through the payment of child support. Once a child support order is established, you are obligated to pay the court ordered amount each month or face sanctions. What happens, however, if you cannot pay? To find out, we asked a Texas child support lawyer “What happens if I lose my job?”
When Is Child Support Initially Ordered?
Child support is typically ordered when the parents of a minor child decide to end the marriage or through a paternity action for a child born out of wedlock. When child support is part of a divorce, it will be ordered as a provision in the final judgment of divorce. If a child is born out of wedlock, something that is much more common in the 21st century, the putative father must legally establish paternity over the child. Establishing paternity accomplish two things. First, it gives the father legal rights to the child, such as the right to parenting time and the right to access to the child’s medical records. Second, it creates a legal obligation for the father to financially contribute to the care and maintenance of the child until the child reaches adulthood. Consequently, when paternity is legally established through a formal paternity action, the court will typically order child support as part of the court’s final orders.