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Karen L. Marvel
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Karen Marvel’s Answers

434 total


  • Divorce

    Once u go to your temporary hearing for divorce how long does it take for your child support to kick in?

    Karen’s Answer

    The duty to pay child support starts on the date set out in the temporary orders. Even without a withholding order, the duty to pay exists. However, the payor may need to pay directly until an account is set up with the Texas State Disbursement Unit. Check with your attorney to find out if the temporary orders and a wage withholding order have been signed by the judge. Step 2 is to make sure the wage withholding order is issued to the employer (1 page request and a $15 fee). Third step is to make sure an account is opened at the State Disbursement Unit so there is a place for the money to go instead of sitting in limbo.
    If the payor gives you money directly, both of you need to keep a record of it (receipts, cancelled checks) and be prepared to sign an affidavit of direct payments if the Attorney General gets involved in your case and is looking for unpaid money. Good luck.

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  • Child Support review needed, getting almost half of what I should based on his salary.

    We were married in Texas, son was born there, we divorced there, my case is there-but neither I nor my ex still live there. There has never been a review for his wages increasing, over seven years. I'm getting 500, according to the calculator it s...

    Karen’s Answer

    If your ex husband does not live in the same state where you and the child live AND has no contacts with your new state (hasn't lived there or does not do business) you will need to keep the case in Texas or move it to his home state to modify child support under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, unless he agrees your new state can take jurisdiction. You can apply with the Title IV-D agency in your home state to see if they can start services for you but interstate cases can take a long time. I suggest you hire a Texas attorney to advise you. Also, the child support increase is only retroactive to the date you serve him with this motion and it is at the discretion of the court. You can't go further back even if he has been earning that amount for a while.

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  • Can I send a Child support wage withholding order to a Union?

    My ex husband works for local 450 operating engineers Union. He is always changing which company he works for through them and won't give me the info. Can I send a child support wage withholding order directly to the union? Will they be able to ha...

    Karen’s Answer

    If his paychecks come from the companies he contracts with, a withholding to the union would not be honored. You can send withholding orders to all of the companies he has done work with in the past because if he does work again they have to honor the withholding order. The easier thing would be to hire an experienced child support attorney who will track down this guy and make him disclose where he works and what he makes so you can get your withholding order. It would be worth the money to hire someone because the Attorney General does not have the resources to chase after someone like him.

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  • Child Support, Is there any law that protects the Father from unjust child support?

    I've read the Texas law on child support and understand the calculation they use, and also understand the court acts on behalf of the child. but my question is "If the obligor is in poverty, in this case gets SSI/SSDI, But don't have enough credi...

    Karen’s Answer

    If you are only receiving SSI and not SSDI, it cannot be garnished and the court cannot consider it as income for setting child support. If you receive SSDI, the court can consider it. Tex. Family Code sec. 154..062(5) [court can consider social security benefits but not supplement security income]. So if you receive both, the court must exclude your SSI and only count your SSDI. That being said, as the other attorneys pointed out, if you have other assets, whether accessible or not, the court can consider those in setting your child support.

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  • Child support arrears

    My ex husband owes me $1,100 in unpaid child support. I am an expat and will be returning back to Europe in November 2014. Since time is very limited for me and probably not worth hiring an attorney for that amount of money (nonetheless I want my ...

    Karen’s Answer

    File for services with the Texas Attorney General because they can handle the case even after you leave the country. If your case is in Harris County, there should be automatic monitoring under the cooperative agreement and the Harris County Local Rules. Good luck.

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  • I was told my father was irregular with child support payments. Can I collect? If so, how?

    I'm 28. My mother died when I was 14, and I received survivor benefits until turning 18 - not sure if that makes a difference concerning child support. My father was never in the picture, and I don't have much besides his name and a date of birth....

    Karen’s Answer

    If paternity was not established by a court order that set child support, you are too late -- in Texas. Texas law says it must be brought by your 22nd birthday. You, as the surviving child, have the right to initiate and request retroactive child support IF it is filed timely. I am sorry you cannot be helped in Texas.
    If your father never lived in Texas and is in California, the laws of California could apply and their time periods may be different. Try posting this question on the California child support board -- just in case.
    Good luck.

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  • Is Child Support garnishment mandatory in TX or can you just pay directly to the EX?

    My divorce is pending and per our decree we requested child support payments to not go through the state and get garnished. I am now told that garnishment is mandatory in TX. Thus far (2.5 yrs) I have been paying my EX directly w/o issue, pls help!

    Karen’s Answer

    I agree with my friend and colleague Charles Hardy. The problems I see in cases arise when people do not pay through the registry and they have to reconstruct a payment history. If your divorce is pending you do not have a problem under temporary orders but for the protection of both of you, pay through the State Disbursement Unit after the divorce.

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  • Why doesn't Texas have a graduated child support payment calculation?

    Why is someone who is seeing his kids 45% of the time paying the same as someone who sees the kid 0% of the time? Is there any legal recourse to lower the child support payment for a parent who is active and has the children anywhere from 45-50% o...

    Karen’s Answer

    Texas's child support system is set up on the presumption that parents will have about a 55/45 split in possession time under our Standard Possession Order system & it is closer to 52/48 with the expanded SPO *disclaimer-- or so I've been told-- I didn't do the actual math. Most of our orders start out this way and then it turns out parents do not exercise possession so it is up to the custodial parent to file a motion to modify and ask for an increase based on more expenses.
    If you want to change our system, contact your state representative and state senator. Also, the family law attorneys in Texas are active in the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and want to hear from clients about needed changes to our code. We work year round on proposed legislation on a volunteer basis outside of our law practices to make the laws better for all Texas families. Contact your divorce lawyer and ask him/her to put you in contact with an officer of the Family Law Section.

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  • Tx Office of Attorney Genera

    What agencies oversee the TX OAG to ensure they are following ethical practice & procedures regarding child support enforcement & remaining unbiased & not favoring one parent due arrears and retaliating against the NCP?

    Karen’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The Attorney General's office is charged with collecting child support under the law and when the circumstances require it the office can modify child support. They do not have clients, they have customers and their training requires them to be fair to both sides. My experience has been that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Be polite to them and they are polite to you. Treat them like dirt and guess what will happen to you?
    If you really feel like someone has a vendetta, call your state representative and ask his/her office to look into it. Your state representative is happy to help you fix a real problem. However, it may be the AG's office is just doing their job and you don't like it.

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  • New Evidence He Is Not The Father-Texas

    Man in California was ordered to pay child support by court in Austin, TX for a child born to his ex-wife. He now has DNA testing proof he is not the father. Mother lied under oath at hearing that the man was only possible father; must be lie bec...

    Karen’s Answer

    There are VERY restrictive time limits on the mistaken paternity law. The father needs to look here on Avvo to consult with one of the many good Austin area attorneys. I agree with all the previous attorneys that a former AG is not necessary BUT an experienced attorney with lots of family law practice -- someone who understands the nuances of this sensitive issue-- is required. If you are looking for cheap, fast and good, you don't get all three in one package. Pay more for a qualified attorney who knows this area of law.

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