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The Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C.

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Divorce and Family Law Matters

We are now accepting clients statewide in Texas.

WE ARE WORKING!

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop and evolve, the safety, health and well-being of our clients and our team is extremely important to us. We are watching for the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and international medical experts to learn how we can best manage our facility and our clients.

We would like to reassure you that The Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C. will continue to be available to provide services to all of our clients.

Our lawyers and paralegals are working in the office and electronically, although most of us are working from home. Below is a list of FAQs regarding our response and commitment to you during COVID-19.

Can I even have a consultation with my lawyer remotely?

Yes, The Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C. has a comprehensive remote working capability and all of our lawyers and paralegals are equipped to work securely from home.

Will my lawyer be available to answer questions and work on my case?

Yes, your legal matters will continue to receive our attention. You can email, call, or videoconference with your lawyer during this time.

We also have multiple videoconferencing options; please contact your attorney for the platform that works best for you

How are court hearings and appointments affected?

Court in Bexar County are now conducted by Zoom Please see our blog article Court via Zoom: It’s Actually, Really Court (and Here’s How It Works)

Can I consult with a lawyer about a new family law or divorce matter?

Yes, we have office staff working in house and remotely to ensure continuity in our business. For information about a family law or divorce matter, please call our office or complete the Request a Consultation Form.

Your family law matters remain our top concern and we are not going to permit this pandemic to take priority over your needs. We will remain confident, alert and prepared.

We wish you and your family well as we work through this difficult situation together.

With warm regards,
Lisa A Vance

 

 

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Can my stimulus check be used for past due child support I owe?

| May 22, 2020 | Child Support, Child Support Modification |

If you’re familiar with how child support works in Texas, you know that the Office of the Attorney General can get money to parents in a variety of ways.

It can come out of a parent’s check directly through that parent’s employer. (In fact, that’s how 80 percent of child support is paid in the state.)

It can, in delinquent cases, “file a lien on properties, bank accounts, retirement plans, life insurance plans, personal injury claims, insurance settlements or awards and other assets,” according to its website.

And now, as some Texas parents are about to discover (or have already discovered), money can be automatically taken out of the stimulus checks coming from the federal government in response to the pandemic.

There’s an explainer on the OAG’s website that says why this is happening. It’s simply something that’s baked into the law passed earlier this year, allowing states a tool to enforce child support payments, at a time when — as we discussed last week — it’s harder for parents to pay child support they owe.

According to the site, “Federal law requires child support agencies to have procedures to collect past due child support from federal tax refunds. In the federal stimulus bill, the CARES Act, Congress did not exempt the stimulus rebate payments from federal offsets for child support arrears.”

Whether a parent will have money intercepted from his or her check depends on the arrears amount. The OAG site notes, “If TANF has been received for your child, the total amount of past due support on all of your child support cases must be at least $150. If TANF has not been received for your child, the total amount of past due support on all of your child support cases must be at least $500.”

If you have money taken out for back child support, you will receive a letter informing you this happened, as well the amount taken out — though if you’ve already had your stimulus check applied via direct deposit, as many Americans already have, the notification may not come until after the adjusted amount has arrived.

(Indeed, if you owed child support and received less than you expected, you may have figured out what happened prior to getting a letter. The amount, which is still to come to some Americans in the form of a check, is $1200 per adult in the household and $500 per child.)

It’s also worth noting that if you are married to someone who owes child support, there’s no differentiation between your portion of the stimulus check and your spouses. If your spouse owes $1500 in past due child support, the OAG can take the full amount — they won’t just stop at your spouse’s $1200!

With OAG child support offices still closed to the public, the best way to figure out what you owe is to go to the OAG’s Child Support Interactive site. You’ll need your eight-digit member ID number in order to access it (and, confusingly, it is not the same as your eight-digit case number), but once you have it, you can see what you’ve paid over the past year as well as the amount of any child support still owed (in the “Arrears” section).

As we emphasized last week, you’re on the hook for the monthly amount specified in your decree, regardless of whether or not you’ve recently lost your job or lost income. The two best pieces of advice we can give, if the amount taken out of your stimulus check will only temporarily cover your obligations, is to let the OAG know you’re experiencing hardship (so they can factor that into enforcement), and to work with a lawyer or the OAG Child Support Office on a modification.

If you don’t think your ex will work with you in a mediation, the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance is happy to meet with you to get started on adjusting your decree to better reflect your current reality.

 

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