One size fits all is an approach that doesn't work for blue jeans and in the world of child support. The Texas Family Code has laid out its proscribed levels of child support that, for the most part, courts adhere to when divvying out child support orders.
Starting at 20% of a parent's net monthly resources for one child and going up to 40% for five or more children, our State Legislature has proscribed these support levels as appropriate for Texas Families. The belief is that even if parents are not living together, each should bear a portion of the burden of raising their child or children.
However, in certain situations, a baseline of support will not suffice. If you are the parent of a child whose circumstances call for more remarkable than the guideline levels of support as proscribed by State law, then this blog post will be of interest to you. In it, we will go through the circumstances that may lead a court to believe that an above-grade amount of child support is necessary.
Factors for a court to consider whether to award a more significant than guidelines amount of child support
A court may decide to award a greater or lesser amount of child support based upon the prevalence of several factors, a few of which will be laid out as follows. After each, I will give a brief example or comment on how each could apply to your family.
Each parent's ability to contribute to the child's support
Suppose you are in a situation where your ex-spouse earns much more income than you do, yet you are the child's primary conservator. In that case, a court may believe that it is in your child's best interest for your ex-spouse to pay a higher than guidelines level of support.
The age and needs of the child
The costs associated with raising a child differ at different ages. If your child is starting school at a private school, then your circumstances may call for an increased amount of child support.
Suppose you think that private school is a choice when public school is readily available and costs nothing above the taxes you pay to attend. In that case, I will let you know that Texas courts have ruled that private schools can be factored in when determining what level of child support to award a parent.
Either parent takes on debts.
How the community estate is divided by parents in their divorce can also impact the child support award. Here, a court may determine that because the primary conservator was awarded more of the debt responsibility from the divorce than the possessory conservator, the amount of appropriate child support is more tremendous than what would be typical under the guidelines contained in the Texas Family Code.
Each party's period of possession and access to the child
Due to distance and other factors, your child may not only live with you primarily but may also spend the majority of their weekends and holidays with you as well. While this is terrific from a time well-spent perspective, it can be challenging to care for a child continuously with only a baseline level of child support.
In situations like this, your child's other parent may be expected to pay more in child support to make up for the fact that your child is not in their possession but a weekend per month or less.
Whether you or your child's other parent are the managing conservators of other children
This is a factor that could increase or decrease the amount of child support to be paid. If you are not only the managing conservator of the child before the court but also two other children who are not, your court may review the circumstances a little more stringently to determine if a more significant than guidelines level of support is justified.
On the other hand, if your ex-spouse is made to pay child support for your child and has another child to which they are the managing conservator, then the amount of support you receive may be less than the guideline level. It is built into the guidelines that even if your ex-spouse is not the managing conservator of another child but is responsible for paying support, your amount of child support will be decreased by 2.5% for each child not presently before the court.
Travel costs associated with exercising possession and access to the child
If your child's other parent has to travel to great lengths and pay a great deal to take advantage of the time awarded to them in your divorce decree, then the amount of support you receive may be offset by an amount that the court deems to be appropriate. I have never seen this circumstance arise in a case, but that's not to say it isn't possible.
The bottom line is that the court is charged with acting in the best interests of your child and has a tremendous amount of discretion to deviate from the guideline levels of support as laid out in the Texas Family Code.
Questions about child support in Texas? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, today.
To learn more about child support and the factors considered when determining a payment amount, please get in touch with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, today. We realize that your circumstance may not have been covered in this blog post, and we would be happy to schedule a free-of-charge consultation to discuss your questions.
One of our licensed family law attorneys will meet with you, go over your particular situation, and discuss the circumstances we can offer you and your family.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- How to correctly calculate child support in Texas
- Is Overtime Pay or Bonus Pay Considered for Texas Child Support?
- Child Support in Texas: What is the most you will have to pay, and what are the exceptions to that rule?
- The Dirty Trick of Quitting Your Job to Avoid Child Support During a Texas Divorce
- Can I get child support while my Texas divorce is pending?
- Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Have Joint Custody of My Child in Texas?
- Can I Sue My Ex for Retroactive or Back Child Support 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
- Can I get child support and custody of my kids in Texas if we were never married?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, 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.