Austin Texas Family Law, Eminent Domain and Personal Injury Lawyer FAQ

Austin, Texas family law, eminent domain personal and injury lawyer frequently asked questions and answers

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  • Can we set child support by agreement?

    If you and the other parent make an agreement on child support, the court may approve it is it decides it is in the best interest of the child. This agreement must be part of the final order.

    Note that, September 1, 2018, it may be difficult to modify child support if you and the other parent had a past agreement that differed from the guidelines. 

  • Is guideline child support mandatory?

    A court usually orders guideline child support. However, the court may consider other factors to determine if guideline support would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case. Your attorney can explain whether this might be true in your case.

  • What income is used to set child support?

    Guideline child support is calculated using the net resources of the noncustodial parent. Your net resources are not the same thing as your take-home pay.

    Net resources is all money received by the noncustodial parent minus:

    Social Security taxes, 

    income taxes for a single person, 

    the cost of health and dental insurance, or cash medical support for the child (if paid by the noncustodial parent),

    union dues, and

    non-discretionary retirement contributions (if the noncustodial parent does not pay social security taxes).

    See Texas Family Code Section 154.062.

    “Resources” includes all money from all sources, including: wages, overtime, tips, bonuses, dividend income, self-employment income, severance pay, retirement benefits, pensions, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits (other than SSI), veterans disability benefits (other than non-service-connected disability pension benefits) unemployment benefits, disability and worker’s compensation benefits, interest income, gifts, prizes, spousal maintenance and alimony.

    Resources does not include return on principal or capital, SSI, accounts receivable, TANF or payments received for foster care of a child.

     

    Net resources are capped at $8,550 per month. If the noncustodial parent earns more than $8,550 per month, the judge may order additional child support based on the income of the parties and the proven needs of the child. 

    The court may not include the income of the noncustodial parent’s spouse when calculating child support. 

  • How does children with someone else change child support?

    Guideline child support changes slightly if the non-custodial parent has children with another parent.

    The percentage of net resources ordered to be paid reduces with each additional child with another parent. Visit  the Texas Attorney General Child Support Calculator to calculate child support if you have this situation.

  • How is child support calculated?

    Texas family law sets the following general guidelines for calculating child support. Child support using these guidelines is called “guideline child support.” The percentages below are of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources:

    1 child = 20%

    2 children = 25%

    3 children = 30% 

    4 children = 35%

    5 children = 40%

    6 or more children = not less than 40%

    Note that the noncustodial parent is given credit for the amount they are paying in medical and dental insurance, or in cash medical and dental support, whichever the case may be.

    If you have more than one child together, the amount of child support will be ordered to “step down” as child support ends for each child (when the oldest child turns 18 and graduates from high school).

    Visit the Texas Attorney General Child Support Calculator to calculate your guideline child support.

    Remember that guideline child support changes if the noncustodial parent has other children.

  • How can I get child support?

    You may get child support, medical support and dental support through a court order as part of a:

    divorce, 

    custody case called a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR), 

    paternity case, 

    family violence protective order case, or  

    modification case (when there is already a court order about the child).

  • What if my child doesn’t have health insurance?

    If your lacks health insurance, they may qualify for insurance through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Find more information at www.chipmedicaid.org.

  • What is dental support?

    Dental support is similar to medical support in that it is additional child support a parent must pay to cover the reasonable cost of dental insurance and uninsured dental expenses for a child.

    Beginning September 1, 2018, this support must be ordered by the court.

    Similar to medical support, dental support may be paid by:

    providing dental insurance, or

    reimbursing the other parent for the reasonable cost of dental insurance (“cash medical support”), or

    paying cash medical support when the child receives Medicaid.

    Dental support is limited to the “reasonable cost” of dental insurance coverage for the child, defined as dental insurance that does not exceed 1.5% of the paying parent's annual resources. 

    Dental support is in addition to both regular child support and medical support. 

  • What is medical support?

    Medical support is extra support, in addition to child support, which a parent is ordered to pay to cover the cost of health insurance and uninsured medical expenses for a child.

    A parent can be ordered to pay medical in the form of:

    providing health insurance for the child, or

    reimbursing the other parent for the cost of health insurance coverage ("cash medical support"), or

    paying cash medical support when the child receives Medicaid.

    Usually, the parent ordered to pay child support is the parent who will be ordered to pay for health insurance for the child or pay cash medical support. 

    The parent ordered to pay medical support is only required to pay the “reasonable cost” of providing health insurance coverage for the child, which is defined as health insurance that does not exceed 9% of their annual resources.

    Starting September 1, 2018, a court must also order dental support in addition to medical support for the child. 

    A child’s uninsured, or out-of-pocket, medical and dental expenses is usually ordered to be paid 50/50 between the parents.

  • Who pays child support?

    Child support is paid by the parent who does not have primary custody of the child. This parent, who is ordered to pay child support, is called the “obligor” or “non-custodial parent.”