Child Support

The Texas Family Code specifies guidelines for the amount of child support to be paid to the parent with whom the children reside on a daily basis, based upon a percentage (20 – 40%) applied to the number of children before the Court, and whether the paying party is employed or self-employed. The percentage applied changes if there are children not before the Court for which the paying party has an obligation of support. The child support guidelines are presumed to be in the best interest of the children, and are actual charts found in the Texas Family Code. These charts change frequently so it is imperative to consult with an experienced family law attorney on this topic. It is important to know that resources other than wages may be considered when setting the amount to be paid. Child support can be ordered on a periodic or lump sum basis. The party paying child support is also responsible for carrying health insurance coverage for the children, or reimbursing the other parent for the premium for coverage, as child support.

The guidelines have a cap (a maximum) on net monthly income to which a percentage is applied for arriving at the amount of child support to be paid. A Court may award “above guidelines” (above the cap) support, but this is a fact intensive assessment looking at the resources of both parties and the proven needs of the child. You will need to consult with an experience family law attorney for additional information, in this regard.

Most of my clients are surprised to learn that a Court may not always approve an agreed upon amount for child support that varies from the child support guidelines, such as one reached by the parties in an informal settlement conference or mediated settlement agreement. You will need to discuss this issue with an experienced family law attorney for further and full explanation.

Further discussion points of interest to most readers that require personalized factual review and consultation:

  • child support continues until the child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, in general;
  • a Texas Court has no jurisdiction to order a party to pay college expenses or tuition;
  • a Texas Court has no jurisdiction to award a tax dependency exemption for a child.