Many potential clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan come into our office for a consultation and have a concern about one subject in particular prior to engaging in a divorce or child custody case: child support.
These potential clients (mostly men, I must say) have typically heard horror stories from friends, co-workers and everyone in between about how their ex-spouse or ex-whomever has taken them to the cleaners in the realm of child support. These folks’ lives have been irrevocably worsened as a result. Maybe you find yourself sitting in your living room reading this blog post and thinking that you can relate.
I will say this first, on behalf of all of the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan: be careful who you listen to and be wary to believe every word of what your advice-giver has to say. Misery, as they say, loves company and some of the most miserable people you will ever meet have a child support horror story to tell.
My point in writing this specific introduction is to tell you that you do not have to count yourself among those with this type of history with child support. Whether you ultimately end up on the paying or receiving end of child support having some knowledge of the subject before engaging in a family law case in Texas can be very important.
Child Support is a way to share the burden of raising a child
In a divorce or child custody case one parent is going to be named the primary conservator of the child. The primary conservator has two main differences in their rights as compared to the non-primary parent.
The first is that he or she has the ability to determine the primary residence of the child. The second is that because the child will be spending more time with him or her, they will be able to receive child support from the other parent.
The fact is that one parent or the other is going to pay child support. The non-primary parent will typically pay both child support and health insurance for the child in almost all instances. This can be the case if the child is the product of a twenty-year marriage or a one-night encounter.
A former client of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan came to our office one afternoon telling one of our attorneys that he had had a onetime interaction with a woman he met and that now that woman had contacted him (strangely enough about nine months later) telling him that he was a father.
This client understood that he had a responsibility and was not going to avoid it. The parties attended a mediation session where issues of child support, conservatorship and visitation were all settled without ever having to enter a courtroom.
How is child support calculated?
Child support in Texas is calculated as a percentage of the net resources of the non-primary parent. There are percentages (starting at 20%) that are multiplied against the owing parent’s monthly net resources that determine how much child support is to be paid. For every additional child up until five children an extra five percent is added to the monthly responsibility of the parent. In other words, a person is capped at 40% of their net monthly income to be paid towards the support of their children.
Children Not Before the Court
If a person has other children that they are responsible for that are not before the court which will determine their child support responsibility, the owing parent will receive credit for the other child. For every child, not before the court a credit of 2.5% is received on the child support percentage owed.
To illustrate this point, suppose that a father has two children in a current family law case and one child from a prior relationship that is not involved in this case. The statutory guidelines say that this father should be paying 25% of his net resources towards support.
However, due to the other child being in the picture but not actually before the court this father will only have to pay 22.5% of his net resources toward the support of his two children.
Child Support Cap
It should be noted here that the current “cap” on income considered for child support purposes is $8,550. Any portion of your income above this level is not subject to being applied towards any child support calculation.
Above or Below Guidelines Support
The above means of calculating child support is considered to be in the best interests of the child. In order to convince a court that this statutorily based determination of support is not appropriate evidence must be produced by the party wishing to do so.
For example, showing a judge that the child has special needs that require additional assistance may allow for a court to impose higher than guidelines support. Additionally, if the parent to be receiving the child support is taking on a lion’s share of the debt in a marriage then there is a case to be made for above guidelines support.
On the other hand if a parent has to incur large expenses to take advantage of his or her visitation with the child or has agreed to take on additional costs involved in raising the child then it may be possible (though unlikely) to be awarded less than statutorily mandated levels of child support.
Child Support Essentials will be featured on the website for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
The subject of child support is so important and the questions our attorney receive are so many that another blog post (or possibly two) on the subject with be forthcoming in the next few days. Be sure to check back in with our blog to continue to learn more about this subject.
As always, if you have questions about the subject matter in one of these posts please do not hesitate to contact one of the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Consultations with one of our family law attorneys are available six days a week and are free of charge.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Texas Child Support Enforcement
- Can my Texas Driver's License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
- What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
- Child Custody Basics 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 | Kingwood Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with ar Kingwood, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Kingwood TX is 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 Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, 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.