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 touched 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 cases one parent is named 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 the 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 than 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 is 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 does 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 the time we can get the agreement finalized in court.
Child Custody Ebook
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “Child Custody E-Book”
Child Support Ebook
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “Child Support E-Book”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Child Support in Texas: What is the most you will have to pay and what are the exceptions to that rule?
- Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
- The Dirty Trick of Quitting Your Job to Avoid Child Support During a Texas Divorce
- What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
- How to raise or lower your monthly child support obligation in Texas
- Is there a statute of limitations for filing a claim for retroactive or pass-due child support in Texas?
- When does your duty to pay child support end in Texas?
- Can my Texas Driver's License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
- Is Overtime Pay or Bonus Pay Considered for Texas Child Support?
- Can you negotiate child support during mediation?
- Can a Non-Family Member Get Custody of a Child?
- Child Custody Geographic Restrictions in Texas
- Custody of a special-needs child: Things to know
- How Much Will My Texas Child Custody Case Cost?
- Handling a child support case as the non custodial parent, Part Five
- 12 Texas Custody & Conservatorship Battle Tips
- Modifying your divorce decree in Texas