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Child Support

In virtually all family law cases involving children, one parent will be expected to pay child support to the other parent. Generally, the Court will specify that one parent has the right to establish the primary residence of the child and the other parent will be expected to pay child support to the other parent. The other parent is also expected to pay or reimburse the other parent the cost of health and dental insurance for the child.

Factors the Court May Consider When Determining Child Support in Texas

It is important to understand the factors that the Court may taken into consideration when determining child support. The Texas legislature has set forth a set of guidelines for child support which is based on the income of the person who will pay child support (called the Obligor), without consideration of the income of the person receiving child support (called the Obligee). The guidelines further break down according to how many children the parties have as well as if any of the Obligor’s children that are not children of the Obligee. However, the court is also permitted to consider numerous other factors, including:

  1. the age and needs of the child;
  2. the ability of the parents to contribute to the support of the child;
  3. any financial resources available for the support of the child;
  4. the amount of time of possession of and access to a child;
  5. the amount of the obligee’s net resources, including the earning potential of the obligee if the actual income of the obligee is significantly less than what the obligee could earn because the obligee is intentionally unemployed or underemployed and including an increase or decrease in the income of the obligee or income that may be attributed to the property and assets of the obligee;
  6. child care expenses incurred by either party in order to maintain gainful employment;
  7. whether either party has the managing conservatorship or actual physical custody of another child;
  8. the amount of alimony or spousal maintenance actually and currently being paid or received by a party;
  9. the expenses for a son or daughter for education beyond secondary school;
  10. whether the obligor or obligee has an automobile, housing, or other benefits furnished by his or her employer, another person, or a business entity;
  11. the amount of other deductions from the wage or salary income and from other compensation for personal services of the parties;
  12. provision for health care insurance and payment of uninsured medical expenses;
  13. special or extraordinary educational, health care, or other expenses of the parties or of the child;
  14. the cost of travel in order to exercise possession of and access to a child;
  15. positive or negative cash flow from any real and personal property and assets, including a business and investments;
  16. debts or debt service assumed by either party; and
  17. any other reason consistent with the best interest of the child, taking into consideration the circumstances of the parents.

It is critical to choose the right family lawyer for your child support case: one who can help you navigate this long list of factors and provide insight to the judge concerning how these factors apply to your case.

Information the Judge Expects

Generally, the Court will expect each parent to provide tax returns and paycheck stubs to the Court. The Court will review the income producing documents to determine the net monthly income of the parent who is ordered to pay child support. Also, courts in Texas generally require each party to prepare and file a “Financial Information Sheet” detailing all sources of income, debts being paid, and other financial matters. If a parent has multiple sources of income, the Court will not only look at that parent’s primary employment income, but also at the parent’s income from other sources. The court will also look at income from overtime or bonuses.

Texas Guideline Support and Insurance Coverage

If the court proceeds under general guidelines, the child support owed will be set at 20% of the obligated parent’s income for one child, and will increase by 5% for each child after. If the parent who is obligated to pay support owes child support for another child that is not a subject of the current lawsuit, the percentage of support is reduced to some extent. The cost of health and dental insurance for a child will also be considered when calculating child support, so it is important that the parent who will be obligated to pay support be prepared to provide the cost of health and dental insurance that is available for the child through the obligor’s employment in order to reduce the child support accordingly.

Choose the Right Family Lawyer for your Texas Child Support Case

There are significant matters to consider in how to provide the best evidence and persuasive argument to address child support matters, whether you are the potential obligor or obligee. With offices in Amarillo, Texas, the family lawyers at Woodburn and Watkins deal with these issues daily; they can make a big difference in the final outcome of your case. Proudly serving clients in Potter County and throughout the Texas Panhandle.