50/50 Possession and Child Support in Texas
Fifty-fifty possession does not always mean that neither party will pay child support.
Misconceptions about 50/50We commonly encounter clients who have a misconception that having equal possession time with the children always results in no child support being owed by either party.
It should be noted that 50/50 possession is rarely ordered by the Court in a contested proceeding. See our future blog on the details of 50/50 possession.
CalculationIn our experiences, when the Court does impose a 50/50 possession schedule in Travis County, the Court will make the higher-earning party pay offset child support to the lesser-earning party. Offset child support is the difference between what the two parties* child support obligations would be. This is calculated by applying the appropriate guideline support percentage to both parties* net incomes, and subtracting the lesser amount from the greater amount, with the difference being the higher-earning party*s obligation.
For example, if there are two children, and Party A*s net income is $1,000, you would apply 25% to $1,000 which would give you $200. If Party B*s net income is $2,000, you would apply 25% to $2,000 which would give you $500. Subtracting $250 from $500 results in Party B having to pay $250 per month to Party A in offset child support.
This calculation is not explicitly set out in the family code, but rather has arisen from common court practice based on application of Texas Family Code section 154.123(b)(4) which authorizes the Court to determine whether the application of guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances considering the amount of time of possession of the child exercised by each party.