In the State of Texas – as in all other states – both parents are expected to help financially support their children to adulthood. Child support is a legal tool that helps ensure that both parents pay their fair share (relative to their ability to do so). There are very few divorces involving children that don’t also involve child support payments – usually by the parent with the visitation schedule to the parent with whom the children live primarily (but this is not always the case). If you have questions or concerns about child support, a good place to start is by consulting with an experienced Austin family law attorney today.
Texas calls child custody conservatorship, and often, one parent’s conservatorship is referred to as custodial. This means that the children live primarily with this parent and have a parenting schedule – or visitation schedule – with the other parent. In such a situation, the parent with the parenting schedule generally pays child support to the other parent to help offset the cost of raising children on a daily, ongoing basis.
Even if the children spend exactly the same amount of time with both parents, however, one parent might still need to pay child support to the other – in direct relation to his or her income. In other words, child support is intended to help ensure that both parents support their children financially in accordance with their ability to do so (with some minimum standards in place).
Child support is usually figured in accordance with Texas child support calculation guidelines, which continue to evolve over the years. When extenuating circumstances are present, however, the court can wield its vast discretion on the matter and can assign child support payments that are different in both amount and duration from those predicated on state guidelines. In other words, child support payments can vary considerably from case to case.
The basic calculation process includes the following (note that net income refers to all of that parent’s income minus specific deductions that the law allows):
From here, the paying parent’s payments will increase by five percent per child until the number of shared children reaches six.
A host of pertinent factors can influence a court’s decisions related to a specific child support matter, including:
There’s obviously a lot to consider. The court’s primary motivation, however, is always putting the best interests of the involved children first.
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