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 conservatorship.
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
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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 Child Support Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child support it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Child Support Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our child support lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Child support cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.