Recent Changes within Family Law

Dental Insurance coverage

The recent changes in the family law require dental insurance. This change will be made effective this month. Texas legislature mandated dental insurance coverage. This new law was introduced in 2015. It came as an amendment, to the Family Code’s child support section, which mandated the inclusion of dental insurance to come within the ambit of medical support of the orders pertaining to child support. This amendment took effect from September 1st, 2018. This change implies augmented obligations for child support.

The medical routine care within the medical support is expanded through the additional dental insurance coverage. Even though, it is a common practice for parents to get insurance coverage for the children’s dental and vision care, however, this practice has only been mandated by law. Now the calculation of child support would have to be added with the dental insurance coverage while the court orders for them.

The reasonable cost for getting an insurance is defined to be as 1.5% of the child support obligor’s annual resources. If a person does not have the capacity to acquire coverage for the court order of getting dental coverage at cost which is deemed reasonable, then that person could pay for the uncovered child. For the child support calculation purpose, the monthly net resources of the obligor would be deducted with the dental premium cost just as it deducts in the health insurance premium costs.

This change applies to two parties. First, the newly divorcing parents having children are implicated by this recent family law change. And second, those parents who are entering a new “Suit Affecting Parent Child Relationship” (SAPCR). The change is also applicable to those who want a modification in their current orders. In other words, it means that if your child support order was finalized before the effective date of change (i.e., 1st September) then this change is not applicable to your order unless you are seeking to modify it after the effective date of the change.

 

Child Support Modification criteria

Another change within the family law has also been brought and was effectuated on September 1, 2018. This change will particularly impact upon the child support payments that have been agreed upon by the parents but they do not lie within the ambit of Texas guidelines.

The child support agreements which does not comply with the guidelines could be modified by the court, in case of the following:

  • The circumstances of the person/child affected by the order has changed materially and substantially since the original order.
  • A different law settlement has been arrived at by the parents;
  • The obligor’s income has changed within the three years of the support order and that change has rendered the monthly payments for child support to differ from the previous one by either 20% or $100.

The recent change in family law removes the last case. The courts will only consider the two previous cases to allow for the modification within child support. Unless there is a substantial change and material one in the circumstances of the parent affected by the order, there can be no enhancement/modification in the child support.

On the other hand, if the parties agreed to support that does not comply with the guidelines then the change would render quite a difficulty to modifications. For instance, if a party makes agreement for a lesser amount of child support and has asked for something else in return, or for some other reason, then that party, in agreement, would not be able to reverse the deal unless they can show for a material and substantial change in the circumstances of either the party or the child.

When seeking legal counsel for a divorce or family law matter, it is important to have attorneys that are knowledgeable and current on statutory and case law changes. If you believe these new changes may affect you or have questions concerning divorce or child support, contact our office to set up a free consultation with our experienced family law lawyers.