One of the recurring questions in many of my consults is whether
child support is still paid if parents share
joint custody. I have briefly touch on this topic and variations of this same question
in other blogs I have written. I will include links to those blogs at
the end of this article.
In today’s blog article, I will go into a little bit more detail
about how the family code addresses this issue.
Joint Custody and Child Support
Child support is still paid when parents have joint custody in Texas in most situations.
One thing parents should know is that in Texas we do not have custody we
have conservatorship. These words are sometimes used interchangeably by
parents and even Texas lawyers. However, when you get to court a Judge
will be quick to remind you that in Texas it is called
The idea in the family code is to place the focus on parents’ rights,
responsibilities, benefits, and burdens. Parents are there to "conserve
and protect" their children, not merely possess a child like an object.
Joint Managing Conservatorship in Texas does not mean equal time. Generally
in most joint managing conservatorship case one parent is name the primary
conservator who has the right to determine the primary residence of the
child and the other parent has visitation.
Texas Family Code Section 153.138
The Texas legislature passed Texas Family Code Section 153.138 that states
that, “The appointment of joint managing conservators does not impair
or limit the authority of the court to order a joint managing conservator
to pay child support to another
joint managing conservator.”
The Court will always care more about the best interest of then children
than what either party thinks is "fair." If the case goes to
Court it is entirely up to the trial court judge to decide who, if anyone, will pay
child support, and what that amount will be.
Guideline Child Support
In other states a court will consider the income of both parents and amount
of time parents spend with the children, when deciding the amount of child
support a parent will pay.
Texas in most cases does not care:
How much the primary parent earns when
calculating child support.
How much time either parent spend with the children when
calculating child support.
Generally, the way it works when calculating child support is that it is
20% of the net resources of the parent paying child support for the first
child then an additional 5% for every child after that who is before the court.
If the party
paying child support has children from another relationship who they are supporting then they
may be able to have a decrease in the amount of
Agreements in Mediation to No Child Support
Sometimes parents want to do or agree to creative things outside the Texas
Family Code guidelines. In these cases I encourage that the case be settled through
mediation. One reason for this is that if the case is settled in mediation then
I know it can be pushed through the court.
If the case is not settled in mediation and something nonstandard has been
agreed upon by parents then there is a good chance a court will not approve
it. This is because:
Child support is presumed to be in the best interest of the child
- In order to get it through the court we will have to prove to a judge that
it is in your child’s best interest that a parent not provide support.
Texas case law has held that the mediation rule – Texas Family Code
section 153.0071 – trumps over any conflicting statute. In other
words if the case settles in mediation then 95% of time we can get the
agreement finalized in court
If you want to know more about what you can do,
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Can I Get 50/50 Time with My Children?
- What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
- Texas Child Support Appeals
- In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- Why Ignoring Child Support Obligations is a Bad Idea in Texas
- Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
- Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
- How to get above guideline child support.
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
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