In the world of Texas child support, everyone wants to know what they will end up having to pay or what they will end up being able to receive in child support each month. This is extremely understandable given the costs associated with raising kids and the difficulties that many people experience when it comes to receiving child support on time and in full each month with that said, it is not a mystery how child support is calculated or even determining who will pay child support. When you get right down to it, child support is this subject that is formulaic in many ways.
To begin with, child support in Texas has based on guidelines regarding the amount of time each parent is expected to spend with their child in a given month. I think that it is valuable for us to be able to discuss this subject in greater detail before walking through the four significant factors that play into child support. Once we cover why child support is paid, conservatorships issues, and visitation time we will have a much better base of knowledge to proceed with in terms of discussing the actual factors themselves that play into determining child support payments.
Why is child support paid in the first place?
One of the most important questions that we can ask ourselves regarding child support is why it exists in the first place. The basis for paying child support stems from the fact that in households that have not seen their family circumstances go before a family law court, it is presumed that both parents spend equal amounts of time with the children in their households. That equal amount of time would lead parents to believe that they have put forth equal effort at caring for their children in terms of time, energy, and money. Therefore, child support would be unnecessary and tedious for these families.
On the other hand, if you have brought your family before a Texas family law court then it is presumed that during a family law case conservatorships rights will be assigned that make it impossible for parents to be able to equally share the cost burden of raising children. Past such, in these types of situations, child support is seen to level those costs between two parents.
In a typical Texas child custody case one parent will be named as the custodial parent and the other will be named as the non-custodial parent. A custodial parent has custody rights to your child. This means that you or your Co-parent will be able to determine the primary residence of your child and therefore spend more time with your children than the non-custodial parent. Because you will end up spending more time with your child than the non-custodial parent you would be in line to receive child support from the non-custodial parent. This is intended to even the score between the two of you in terms of overall costs associated with raising your child.
The non-custodial parent will have visitation rights to your children. This does not mean that he or she Will not be able to spend a great deal of time with your child. Rather, having visitation rights to your child is still a significant improvement over what you’re coherent had previously. For instance, if you are a parent who has struggled to see your children with consistency due to your Co-parent withholding visitation or possession from you then a child custody order that provides you with a cent amount of time that you can see your children can be heaven-sent.
Simply being able to rely upon a set schedule when it comes to seeing your kids can be a great leg up for you and your kids alike. It is not just you who suffers when you are not able to spend time with your children. Rather, your children suffer when they are not able to spend time with both you and your Co-parent. It is in their best interests to be able to develop and maintain a relationship with you and with your Co-parent. Therefore, you should not look at being a non-custodial parent as something where it is undesirable or not worth pushing for if you are involved in a child custody or divorce case. Remember that it is up to you how much and how well you take advantage of the time that you are provided with your children.
Another thing to consider, when it comes to conservatorships rights, is that you will have the ability to come back to court and attempt to modify a conservatorship or custody order in the future if you believe that circumstances have changed somewhat. While the subject matter of child support or child custody modification is a different topic for a different blog post, I can tell you that it happens with regularity where parents who have non-custodial time with their children end up asking for him being granted substantially more time with their children in the future because they have taken advantage of all the time they are given under their order. All parents’ circumstances are different but if you can take advantage of the time that you are given with your children then you will be better positioned for future modification and court cases.
When it comes to conservatorships rights the ability to designate the primary residence of your children is the most important when we are talking about child support. The ability to make this designation for your kids is the single most important one in terms of being able to figure out who will be paying child support and who will be receiving child support. Mothers and fathers spent a great deal of time, money, and effort to submit effective arguments as to which of them would be better suited to care for children on a primary basis. This is probably one of the leading indicators of whether your case can be settled out of court or will need to go before a family court judge for a trial.
The determination of who has primary conservatorship
In terms of the number one factor that goes into determining child support orders in Texas the number one issue is which parent, you, or your Co-parent, will be named as the parent who has primary conservatorships. We have already discussed the basics of this subject. Whoever is named as primary conservator will also be able to receive child support. When it comes to a family law case this should be a subject that you find out about early on as far as whether there is room to negotiate. Conservatorships go beyond time with your children. Conservatorships means more regarding rights and duties associated with your kids and period
The right to determine the primary residence of your children likely would come along with superior rights regarding education and health decisions, as well. This is since the parent who has the kids in their possession more often would likely need to be able to make more day-to-day decisions about either of these subjects. However, it is completely up to you and your Co-parent as far as how you structure these conservatorships rights. Most families tend to settle their cases out of court in mediation. However, if you and your Co-parent are unable to do so it is typically the issue of primary conservatorships that weighs heavily in this regard.
You and your Co-parent may already have an idea about how you want to divide up rights and duties between the two of you. I have seen some families, for example, where one parent frequently works outside the home and travels a great deal and would not be well suited to be the day-to-day caretaker of the child. In that case, the decision may be made for you based on your specific circumstances. In that case, you may be able to avoid a lengthy meanwhile case in may settle early in the process. However, you would need to be able to talk through the issues with your Co-parent to decide like this.
On the other hand, if both you and your Co-parent believe that you are well suited to fulfill the role of primary conservator then you may be looking at in situation where your case goes to a trial. The reason being is that there isn’t much middle ground on this subject. If you both want to need a primary conservator and receive child support, then you are looking at a situation where you would need to go before the judge to make arguments in front of him or her. You can negotiate on splitting time with your co-parent but splitting the right to receive child support isn’t possible.
How many children do you have before the court?
The next factor that is central to determining child support for you and your children is how many children you have before the court. The Texas family code contains guidelines on calculating child support for your family. To be clear, you and your Co-parent can agree to basically whatever number you would like for monthly child support so long as it is reasonable based on your circumstances. A family court judge would make that determination at the end of your case. So, if the two of you can work together to negotiate on child support, then this may not be much of an issue. However, in other circumstances, such as if you go before a family court, The Child Support guidelines as contained in the Texas family code will go a long way towards making this determination for you all.
The Texas family code calculates child support based on how many children are before the court. As you may imagine, the amount of child support that you can expect to be paid will increase based on the number of children that you have a period the more children you have the more likely you are to receive more money. Bear this in mind as you consider how much child support you are likely to receive because of your family law case. The general rule when it comes to this factor is the more children you have the more money you will receive.
How much income do you earn?
The next factor that we can consider when it comes to paying child support is determining how much the non-custodial parent earns in net monthly income. Net monthly income takes the income that you earn and subtracts out health insurance, taxes, and other costs to get to a take-home pay type number. It is this figure that we’ll be utilizing as a base rate for child support payments. For instance, once your net monthly income is determined a percentage will be multiplied against that income based on the number of children you have before the court. For one child before the court, 20% of your net monthly income will be calculated. Increase with every child by 5% until you get to the point where at most 50% of your net monthly income can be paid in child support each month.
Related to this subject is whether you have any children who are not before the court in this specific case. For example, if you have children from another relationship that you are also supporting then those children will be credited accordingly in the current child support case. Typically speaking, 2 1/2% will be knocked off the total percentage of your net monthly income that has to be paid in child support for each additional child that has not currently before the court. You need to be able to provide proof to the court of these other children.
Specific needs of your child
So much of family law in Texas depends upon the specific needs of your family. While the Texas family code does figure into determinations on the subject matter that we have discussed today it is also crucially important for you to be able to ensure that the family judge is aware of the circumstances of your case and your family when it comes to child support orders. as such, the family court in your case will need to be aware of those needs as much as possible.
For example, if your child has special needs in terms of their mental health or physical well-being then it is likely that those additional costs will be considered in child support. You may have an increase in your child support based on the Texas child support guidelines because of the proven needs of your child. If out-of-pocket medical costs for your child typically add up to $500 per month your co-parent and you may decide that $250 is a fair amount to increase your standard child support payment by each month to correct for those increased costs.
Additionally, let’s say that there are specific travel costs that go into you having to see your child. For instance, if you must pay a lot of money in gas, transportation costs, or even plane tickets to see your child then you and your Co-parent may agree to subtract those amounts out of child support and allow you to pay less per month in child support. Whenever you are talking about figures like this, you need to be able to have specific figures in mind when discussing them with your Co-parent. Having a general idea about costs is not good enough for a family law case. You should have these costs and child support options spelled out in writing and presented to your Co-parent before attending mediation. Your failure to do so may result in not being able to reach a settlement when you otherwise would have been able to have been properly prepared. You can discuss this subject with your attorney to find out what the best course of action is for your circumstances.
In whatever circumstance you and your family find yourselves in it is essential that you all prepare for any range of outcomes. The best way to do this is to hire a family law attorney with experience handling child support matters. The benefit of having a lawyer like this is that you will be able to rely upon their experience working on other cases like yours. This will give you a leg up when trying to discover solutions that are practical in that suit you and your family well.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a child custody or divorce case.