If you are a divorced parent or an unmarried parent with a child who does not live with you, you may be looking at child support payments. But how much does Texas child support cost, and how is that determined?
The Texas child custody and child support system uses many factors to determine how much you will owe in child support, which may include but not be limited to the physical time the child spends with each parent, the age of the child, the amount of money each parent earns, and more. Learn about the Texas child support system, and use our handy calculator below to estimate how much your child support payments may be.
Child support is money paid to a child’s custodian by the noncustodial parent. In short, a parent who does not live with their child (the noncustodial parent) may have to pay money to the parent with whom the child lives (the custodial parent) if the noncustodial parent is found to have an obligation to do so.
Like all aspects of child support in Texas, child support obligation is determined based on the best interest of the child. Normally, a child support court order is only issued for biological children or formally adopted children. The family court usually will not order child support for stepchildren unless the parent has officially adopted the stepchild.
Each child support case is unique, and the family courts consider the circumstances involved. In particular, the family court assesses the child’s previous standard of living and what it would be if the family had continued living together. Child support can cover many different needs of the child, from childcare costs to clothing, education, and other expenses.
The amount of child support is based on the net monthly income of the noncustodial parent. At the federal level, the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act requires payment of a reasonable amount without regard to marital misconduct. However, states can require parents to pay more than the federal amount, depending on the parents’ income and the divorce circumstances.
Child support is a periodic payment designed to allow the child to maintain their standard of living. Other expenses the family courts may order a parent to contribute include dental insurance, medical expenses, health insurance premiums, school and religious costs, vacation and camp expenses, and other unique expenses.
The process can seem complex and arcane to parents who do not understand the law. If you are facing child support and want to know more, contact the Law Office of Chris Schmiedeke for help. Call us at 214-989-7375 or use our online contact form to discuss your case with a Dallas family law attorney today.
Under Texas child support guidelines, child support is always paid by the noncustodial parent based on their monthly net income. The noncustodial parent is the parent with whom the child does not spend the majority of their time or the parent with whom the child does not live. This parent is called the obligor, or the one obligated to make payments.
Child support can be retroactive to the birth of the child, so if you know you have a child, get your child support set up as quickly as possible. I have seen cases where a father was ordered to pay child support 10 years after the child was born and immediately had an arrearage in the tens of thousands of dollars. The father knew he had a child but chose to do nothing about it.
Do not let this happen to you.
If you have child support questions, we’ve got answers. Contact us today!
Monthly payments are calculated based on the net monthly income of the noncustodial parent. People think voluntary withdrawals like 401(k) contributions and other discretionary withdrawals can be deducted from gross monthly income when calculating child support payments. This is untrue.
The only deductions from your monthly gross income are federal income taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicaid, and union dues. After these deductions, the monthly net income is multiplied by a percentage based on the number of children. For those engaged in self-employment, the numbers can be tricky, and our attorneys can help you determine how much child support you should pay.
Child support calculations are partially based on the number of children to support and any other children you are responsible for supporting. Your monthly percentage for calculating support can be reduced if you have other children you have a duty to support, such as biological children from a previous relationship. Remember, your children must be biological or legally adopted children to be counted for child support.
There is a cap on how much child support can be paid in Texas, which is updated every six years to account for inflation. Currently that cap is $9,200 net income per month. If you make more than this, your child support may be capped. The Texas Family Code, however, provides soft cap guidelines that are intended to prevent undue hardship for parents. This soft cap is 20 percent of the custodial parent’s net income, plus another 5 percent per each additional child after the first. The code also permits the family courts to determine support on a case-by-case basis for the needs of the individual family. Dealing with these caps can be stressful and scary, which is another reason why it is important to have an experienced Texas divorce lawyer in your corner.
The state of Texas makes child support payments as simple as possible, with several options available. These include:
Those collecting unemployment benefits will see child support payments withdrawn through automatic withholding. If you need assistance or more information, our law firm is ready to help. We’ll simplify the child support process, so call today.
The only way child support payments can be changed is by the family courts. Agreement by the parents is not enough. You must have grounds to change a child support order. Such grounds may include:
Parents can request reviews of the current child support amount every three years through the Attorney General’s Office or by contacting an attorney.
Under Texas law, child support must continue until one of the following circumstances is met:
If your child is disabled, either physically or mentally, the courts may order indefinite child support unless or until that disability ends.
The state of Texas takes failure to pay child support very seriously. Payment of child support is enforced by the Office of the Attorney General, which may take many different steps to force you to pay. These include:
Do not get caught failing to pay child support. Let us help you meet your responsibilities.
Our Texas child support calculator is designed to provide a rough estimate of what you may expect from the court decision. This monthly child support calculator is not intended as a completely accurate, final number. You should consult a qualified Texas family law attorney to get an accurate amount. At the Law Office of Chris Schmiedeke, we are always ready to help parents with child custody and child support issues. Let us simplify the child support process for you. Call us at 214-989-7375 or use our online contact form for a consultation with one of our knowledgeable Dallas-based divorce attorneys today.