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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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If I’ve lost my job or I’ve lost income, can I get a child support modification?

| May 15, 2020 | Child Support, Child Support Modification |

The economic news has been grim over the last few months. The number of Americans who have lost their jobs over the last couple of months, due to the ongoing pandemic, has reached 36 million. Here in Texas, according to a new Texas Tribune article, 1.9 miliion people have filed for unemployment, just as the Texas Supreme Court is allowing for eviction proceedings and debt collections to resume.

The financial stress some people are feeling may be compounded by child support payment that was in line with what they were making prior to the recent economic downturn, but no longer is. The good news for people who find themselves in this situation is that it is possible to modify a decree to reflect a change in financial fortunes. However, it’s not something that’s automatic, and it’s not something that you can do on your own. It requires a modification through a court order.

The Texas Family Code has very specific guidelines about modifying a child support payment. A decree will typically specify the money that one parent pays to the other based on the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Calculator. It factors in the parent’s income, whether that parent is providing medical insurance under his or her plan, and how many children that parent is responsible for supporting.

Modification is allowed under the Texas Family Code’s Section 156.401 if “it has been three years since the order was rendered or last modified and the monthly amount of the child support award under the order differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would be awarded in accordance with the child support guidelines,” or “if the circumstances of the child or a person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the date of the order’s rendition.”

So, while it’s not something that’s meant to be done every six months or even every year, it does allow for people to address major job changes and changing life circumstances, and it does allow for adjustments to be made periodically throughout the life of the decree.

The 20 percent figure suggests that a parent doesn’t have to experience a complete job loss to be eligible for modification. For example, if a parent works at a restaurant and loses significant hours there, that could be enough for the court to justify a modification. It starts with the calculator and determining what you should be paying versus what you’re currently paying.

Parents can also work with the OAG’s Child Support Office directly, through what’s called the Child Support Review Process, which is typically done in one of its offices. While parents might informally agree on an amount that works for them, it’s not official until a judge signs off on a modification, whether it happens in a courtroom of with a Child Support Office employee working with both parties in an office.

What’s important to remember in all this is that the amount a parent owes, per a decree, is court-ordered and a legal obligation. Without modifying a decree, you’re required to pay the amount there, and you can’t ignore it even if you can’t afford it. The OAG encourages parents who can’t meet their obligation to contact it. That won’t stop the obligation, but as the OAG warns, not notifying it makes it more likely for enforcement actions to take place.

There’s helpful info on the OAG site itself to help you determine if you need a modification, and what the best way to go about it might be. Of course, the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance is happy to step in on your behalf; if you determine you’re eligible and ready to take a modification request to court, we can do an initial consultation to help you pay

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