The dissolution of a marriage is very difficult for families—especially when children are involved. Custody, visitation and child support arrangements can be especially difficult to work out at a time when emotions are running on high. Because it has long-term financial ramifications for both parties, child support is often a very contentious issue.
In Texas, the Primary Joint Managing Conservator, or custodial parent, is the parent that has the right to decide where the children will live. In most cases, children live with the custodial parent and have regular visitation with Possessory Conservator, or non-custodial parent. In general, the non-custodial parent is responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent. Child support is based on the non-custodial parent’s net income and the number of children to be supported. The following are the Texas child support guidelines:
- One Child – 20 percent of net income
- Two Children – 25 percent of net income
- Three Children – 30 percent of net income
- Four Children – 35 percent of net income
- Five or More Children – 40 percent of net income
- Six or More Children – Not less than 40 percent of net income
The child support percentages listed above are slightly reduced when the non-custodial parent is also supporting children from another household. In addition, no parent is ever required to pay child support of more than 50 percent of net income.
Texas law gives the court latitude to deviate from the child support guidelines when it is in the best interests of the child. Some factors the court might consider when determining child support include:
- Financial resources of both parents to contribute towards the support of the child.
- Court assessment of whether the non-custodial parent is intentionally unemployed or underemployed in order to reduce the amount of child support owed.
- Childcare costs.
- Amount of time the child spends with each parent according to the possession order.
- Significant healthcare, education or other costs that will be incurred on behalf of the child.
- Travel costs incurred by the non-custodial parent to have visitation with the child.
Child support is generally set by the court using the general guidelines listed above. However, the court may deviate from those guidelines if it is in the best interests of the child to do so. If you need the services of a knowledgeable and skilled attorney to help you through your divorce and child custody case, contact Austin Divorce attorney David Todd at (512) 472-7799. You may also wish to download a free copy of the book The How to Choose a Texas Truck Accident Lawyer for more information.