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What to Know About Child Support Laws in Texas

Child support laws in Texas similar to Texas Child Custody Laws are a necessary reading for anyone who is considering or planning to file for divorce. Divorce entails a long, hard process, and lack of information can only make the entire process more difficult. Child support after divorce is unavoidable if the marriage produced offspring. Here are the things you need to know about child support laws in Texas.

 

Child Support Laws in Texas Explained

To understand Texas child support laws, it is important to know what the term means. TheLaw.com defines child support as a parent’s continuous payment for the benefit of a child after obtaining a divorce or severing a relationship. Every child is entitled to support from their parents. Child support laws compel parents to fulfill this duty until their children reach the age of majority or until emancipation by reason of marriage or by operation of law.

 

Child support also pertains to the obligation of the non-custodial parent to render periodic payments to the custodial parent for the child’s support and care. Even without a court order, parents have the legal duty to provide support to their children.

 

Who Pays for Child Support?

Physical custody of the child determines who pays for child support. Under child support laws in Texas, the person who gives child support payments is referred to as the ‘obligor’, while the one who receives payments is called the ‘obligee’. In most cases, the obligor is the non-custodial parent or the one who does not have primary possession of the child. On the other hand, the parent with primary possession and bears most of the child’s living expenses is the obligee.

 

Scope and Amount of Child Support Payment

Child support laws in Texas cover the expenses for the basic needs of a child as well as his health insurance or medical support.

 

In setting up the amount of child support, the judge considers the best interest of the child and the same must comply with the specific guidelines laid down in child support laws in Texas.

 

TexasLawHelp.org summarizes the guidelines:

 

  1. The child support payment is calculated using a percentage of the income of the obligor.

 

  1. Parents are allowed to agree on paying more than the amount set by the guidelines, but cannot pay less.

 

  1. The percentage to be applied to the income is as follows:

– 20% for 1 child,

– 25% for 2 children,

– 30% for 3 children,

– 35% for 4 children,

– 40% for 5 children,

– and must not be less than 40% for 6 or more children.

 

Obligors, who are also paying child support for another child or children, are entitled to slightly lesser percentage. The child support payment already made will be deducted from their net income before the guideline percentage is applied.

  1. The court may take into account other child support considerations especially if strict application of the guidelines would result to injustice. The parent concerned may request the court to consider other factors in increasing or decreasing child support payment. The Texas Family Code enumerates other factors which the court may consider in adjusting the amount such as the child’s age and needs, child care expenses, net resources and earning potential of the obligee, and the available financial resources for child support. If the court deviates from the guidelines, it must explain the reasons for such deviation.

 

  1. In cases where the obligor is unemployed, the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour work week may be used by the court as basis. If, however, the unemployment or underemployment of the obligor is shown to be intentional, the amount may be computed using his earning potential and not his actual income.

Nonpayment of child support after divorce has unpleasant consequences such as seizure of cash resources and properties, suspension of driver’s license or professional license, or imprisonment. But since you now know these things, you are well-equipped for the next chapter of your life.


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