Child Support Information

Live at Five’s Board Certified family law attorney, Sonya Coffman, answers questions submitted by Southeast Texas KFDM News viewers. What can be done if a non-custodial parent refuses to pay child support and the custodial parent does not have the resources to hire an attorney? Do step-parents have an obligation to financially support step-children of their former spouse after a divorce is final?


no matter what you think or feel about divorce no matter the situation life will change for you in your children since support issues often come up during and after divorce in keeping with putting families first we turn to attorney sonya coffman for some answers and of course this is a very difficult thing talking about child support because when we do talk about kids it is a devastating thing to go through divorce so let me go straight into some of our questions from our viewers my boyfriend is refusing to pay child support on our daughter who is six months old i don't have any money to hire an attorney is their anything i can do yes in that situation i would recommend that she contact the attorney general's office there's an office and calder in beaumont and also in mid county and they will help in establishing paternity if that's not benn done and then get the child support started along with visitation for the father now when we talk about establishing paternity if the father has not been told there has not come forward how does that work if there's not been either an adjudication by the court or any knowledgement signed and filed with the bureau of vital statistics that would be the first step before court-ordered child support will take place alright here's another question i'm a step-parent do i have any obligation to support the children from my wife's previous marriage legally and technically no a court cannot order a step parent to pay child support nor can the court include a step-parent's wages in figuring child support as a practical matter if they're sharing household obviously community assets would be used to support those children and there's also a line of cases in the criminal casebook that says if someone takes a child into their home in accepts them as a member of the family they enter into a parental relationship with the child so there's some obligation to provide food clothing shelter as long as that relationship exsists so that's not technically a support obligation but as a practical matter that's usually the case well what if you're receiving child support from the children's father you marry again so therefore they've got a stepparent but then you divorce that that parent but you're still getting the child support from the first parent right and so is the question could the step-parent be obligated to pay for those step-children upon divorce and the answer is no okay alright uh can i get child support if we weren't married yes and it's the same procedure that we talked about earlier you have to establish paternity if that's not been done and then once paternity is established the court can order child support now when we're talking paternity test how difficult are paternity test these days not at all with the genetic testing it can be done with just a swab in the cheek inside the mouth it's not taking blood invasive at all and the results are ninety-nine percent accurate and so i think that's usually a good thing to know for sure and a big question that that we've gotten a lot of here on channel six is that how is child support calculated child support is calculated on the net resources of the parent paying the support and yet resources is to find by formula in the family code certain allowable deductions and then a percentage is applied to those net resources so for example twenty percent is the percentage of net resources for one child twenty-five percent for two and so forth alright well sonya thanks so much we appreciate you stopping by every week well and if you have a question about family law let attorney sonya coffman answer your questions you can mail us at the address for channel six you can also ok we'll put that up later you can also fax us eight nine two seven three oh five or email us at