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Does a Father Legally Have to Pay Child Support?

If you are a parent who is going through a divorce or child custody case, then you are probably aware that there is an obligation for you in Texas to support your children from a financial perspective. This obligation stems from the duties that you owe to your child as a conservator. A conservator makes decisions and provides care for another person. When we talk about you being the conservator of your children that means you have rights and duties about them that you must exercise. That responsibility continues after a divorce or child custody case. The only difference between before and after her case is that you will have those rights and duties laid out for you on a piece of paper called child custody or divorce order.

Child support is one of the most contentious issues in a divorce or child custody case. While many people know that Child support is typically a part of a divorce or child custody case most do not know the details surrounding these payments. For example, you may be aware that child support payments occur monthly, but you might not know the specific amount, duration, or the expenses they cover. Did you know that after a case involving child support, custody, or divorce, one parent must now provide medical and dental support? These are the sort of questions that you will have to answer on behalf of your child in your custody or divorce case.

Texas Encourages Parental Agreement on Child Support Through Mediation

The state of Texas also encourages parents like you and your spouse to agree on the amount of child support. Most family law courts require mediation to ensure you and your co-parent negotiate with each other rather than solely relying on a family court judge to make a decision. Negotiation between the two of you usually leads to outcomes that are more equitable and beneficial for your child when compared to relying upon a family court judge. For that reason, you are better off negotiating and preparing for negotiations with your Co-parent rather than assuming your case will go to a trial.

It is also possible for the Child Support that you agree to with your spouse or Co-parent to be zero or close to zero. The Texas family code does not enforce a fixed amount for child support payments.聽True, there is a guideline amount of child support based on a set of factors in a mathematical equation. However, that is for anyone who chooses to utilize it. On the other hand, you can use any method you choose to pay child support as long as both of you agree to it, the judge deems it in the best interest of your child, and it is specified in your child support order.

Importance of Gathering Information for Structuring Child Support in Texas

The big thing at this point to mention is that collecting information is the best route that you can take in terms of determining how to structure child support in your circumstances. Rather than going into negotiations with little to no information, you can use blog posts like this one and any other source that you can get your hands on to negotiate child support. The more you know the better you will be able to negotiate in the better position you will be able to put your children in. Not understanding the basics about Texas child support means that you cannot tell whether your spouse is being unreasonable or reasonable with you.

We aim to make this blog post applicable to a broad audience. With that said, if you have questions about the material that we have covered in today鈥檚 blog post I recommend that you contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations provide an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about Texas family law and understand how filing for divorce or child custody may affect your family circumstances.

What exactly is child support?

In a Texas divorce or child custody case it is usually the non-custodial or non-primary parent who ends up paying the other parent a certain sum of money every month. This sum of money supplements the contributions the other parent makes from their income to cover your child鈥檚 expenses and care for them during the month.

Despite the requirement for you and your co-parent to support your child, the Texas family code does not dictate a specific child support sum. Rather, the law in Texas provides you ample opportunity to negotiate for a certain amount of child support before a trial. If you are unable to conclude on the amount of child support to pay with your Co-parent then a family court judge will listen to testimony, consider other forms of evidence and make a decision about child support.

Meeting Basic Needs Amidst Household Changes

Child support does not aim to maintain your child鈥檚 previous lifestyle while you and your spouse or co-parent lived together. Adjustments may be necessary as your household income changes. Child support should cover your child鈥檚 basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, and education.聽Additionally, medical and dental insurance are now part of the essential expenses that child support should help with.

If your child is not going without any of these items, then your Co-parent who receives the Child Support can spend the Child Support on whatever he or she chooses. There is no accounting or oversight of the money once it leaves your bank account and goes to your Co-parents. As long as someone meets your child鈥檚 basic needs, your co-parent does not need to reveal how they spend the child support money.聽Thank you, of course, we hear about parents supposedly spending child support money on forever list things like clothes and jewelry but there are a couple of points here that I would like to make to you regarding that subject.

Dispelling Myths and Realities in Child Support

First off, child support is very rarely a humongous sum of money. We will briefly go over what child support ends up being for most families but for the most part, child support is a relatively modest amount of money. Therefore, the idea that your Co-parent will be pocketing this money for their benefit is probably not accurate. Rather, I have child support that you pay will likely go towards the direct expenses related to your child. At worst, you can expect Child Support or go to pay things like your child rent or other costs that may not directly relate to your child but are important to him or her. We can look to rent is typically code by your code in it it is still important to note that your child benefits from having a roof over his or her head.

This holds particularly true if you have a teenager or a child engaged in extracurricular activities. Consider the expenses associated with private school, daycare, tutoring, music lessons, braces, or other medical needs. In Texas, the average child support for one child often falls short of covering all expenses.聽Before becoming upset about sending money to your co-parent for such items, consider that they likely use the funds for these essential expenses.

Must it be the case for only one parent pays child support?

It is not necessarily true that only one parent must pay child support. Rather, it is possible for you and your Co-parent to both agree to pay child support until your child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. The Child Support guidelines outlined in the Texas family code are a minimum and not a maximum standard of support that the state of Texas and a family court judge will presume is in your child鈥檚 best interest. Between you and your Co-parent, you all can figure out whatever method of child support payment works best for your family.