Navigating the complicated world of child support can be overwhelming. We’ve compiled and answered a common list of questions we receive from clients.
Who pays child support and how is the amount determined?
In Texas, there is one parent who is the primary custodial parent and the non-custodial parent has the Standard Possession Order, meaning they will have the children 40% to 45% of the time, depending on each case. Usually, it is the non-custodial parent that has the duty to pay support. That support has set guidelines based on a percentage of your monthly income. For one child you pay 20% of your net monthly income and for each additional child you pay 5% of your net monthly income. For example, if you have two children and you are the non-custodial parent, 25% of your net monthly income would go to child support.
How is child support determined in a case where the parties have equal custody?
If the parties have 50/50-type schedule, there are not specific guidelines that we have in the Texas Family Code to deal with that situation. Historically courts will calculate what each parent would pay the other under our child support guidelines, and then do some offset calculations to come up with the amount. So, there is still some support paid but it may be a reduced amount.
What can I do if my spouse isn’t paying the child support they are supposed to?
You can file a Child Support Enforcement Action to enforce the terms of the underlying court order. If someone in Texas fails to pay their child support, then the court has the right to hold them in contempt. Most often, the court will sentence them to jail time and put them on community supervision or probation. As a condition of that probation, they must provide a repayment schedule for the missed child support.
Are there different child support guidelines for children with disabilities?
In Texas, we have provisions that allow our courts to order support for a disabled child whether they’re a minor or an adult. Regarding a disabled minor, usually one spouse will have primary custody and the other will pay child support. If the parent with custody can show the child has proven needs that exceed the monthly child support allowance, then the court can assign the other parent a percentage of those costs on top of the fixed amount of child support. Child support traditionally terminates when a child turns 18 years old. However, a court can order continued support for a disabled child beyond 18 if need be.