One author on the topic of divorce has been quoted as saying, “There no longer seems to be much of a stigma attached to divorce; it is now seen as an unavoidable rite of passage.” With the divorce rate being reported as high as 50% for first marriages, it would seem that this observation is accurate. With divorce comes many changes, but one thing remains constant: the parents’ obligation to support their children—both financially and emotionally.
While there are many issues surrounding the welfare and proper care for a child or children during and after a divorce, this brochure briefly discusses some of the factors involved with providing child support in the State of Texas.
The Texas Family Code contains guidelines for the computation of child support. The Court will first determine which parent is obligated to make child support payments. The Court will then analyze the statutory guidelines. The guidelines apply to situations where the obligated parent’s net monthly resources are $7,500 or less. In such cases, the Court presumptively applies the following schedule:
· 1 child—20% of net resources
· 2 children—25% of net resources
· 3 children—30% of net resources
· 4 children—35% of net resources
· 5 children—40% of net resources
· 6+ children—not less than 40% of net resources
If the obligated parent has children from other relationships, then the above percentages may be reduced.
If the obligated parent’s net monthly resources exceed $7,500, the Court may order additional child support to be paid. However, the Court generally should not order payment of more than the presumptive amount based on the schedules or 100% of the proven needs of the child or children, whichever is greater.
The term “net resources” is defined very broadly and will include all types of income and resources. Additionally, resources may be “imputed” to the obligated parent—this means that the calculation of net monthly resources may include income or resources that the obligated parent does not actually make or have.
In addition to monthly child support payments, the obligated parent is typically required to provide health insurance for the child or children. If insurance is not available through the obligated parent’s employer, but it is available through the employer of the other parent, then the obligated parent will likely be responsible for payment of the premiums. If neither parent has health insurance available through an employer, then the obligated parent will likely be ordered by the Court to provide health insurance to the extent that it is available and affordable.
Additionally, the Court generally provides orders for the payment of deductibles and uninsured medical expenses to be paid by the obligated parent.
Child support is generally paid by the obligated parent until the child is age 18 or, if already age 18 but still in high school, until the child graduates from high school. At any time during this period of obligation to pay child support, if there is a substantial change in circumstance for the obligated parent, then a petition may be made to the Court to review and modify child support.
The laws surrounding child support and modification of child support can be complex and difficult to maneuver through. Our qualified Family Law attorneys can assist you with these legal matters and ensure that your children are provided for to the fullest extent permitted under law. While you take care of the emotional well-being of your children, let us take care of ensuring that their financial needs are met as well!