Divorce in Texas can be hard on everyone, especially on children.
That is why the Texas State Legislature has established guidelines that ensure the child’s best interest is protected – particularly in child support proceedings. The guidelines can be found in Chapter 154 of the Texas Family Code.
Child Support Laws in Texas
Child support laws in Texas do not discriminate. The guidelines apply to all children even if the parents are not married. Thus, children born out of wedlock are also protected by these guidelines.
When dealing with child support, the courts, as a starting point, would use the statutory guideline. Several considerations would determine the amount of child support, including:
- the child’s age
- the child’s needs
- the parent’s financial ability to contribute to the child’s needs
(For the entire list of factors, check out 154.123 of the Texas Family Code.)
Some parents would also opt for a written agreement that would contain all the provisions for support with modifications that are variants from the guidelines. The courts must determine if the spouses’ agreement is in the best interest of the child and would then render in accordance with the agreement.
Child Support Guidelines
When considering child support in Texas, net sources are considered. This includes more than just the take-home pay. It includes all the sources of income like tips, commissions, and salary. The guidelines are designed to apply when the party ordered to pay child support has a net source of $6,000.
Here’s how it works:
When ordered by the court to pay child support, the obligor must pay until the following circumstances occur:
- when the child reaches 18 unless the child is enrolled in an accredited school and is working towards a high school diploma;
- the child gets married;
- the child dies; or
- upon order of the court modifying child support.
Before 1985 under the law, the parent must support the child until the child turns 18. Under the Texas Education Code, however, the student must graduate from high school before 21. (This is not applicable if the child becomes disabled before 21, as the child support would continue into adulthood.)
In the case of more than one child, the written decree or order would expressly state the amount of child support for each child.
In the instance where the custodial parent files a motion to increase child support, discovery can begin. During this process, all income sources would be identified, including worker’s compensation benefits, pensions, annuities, trust incomes, and capital gains. Keep in mind that when child support is calculated, it consists of net resources.
Both parents must provide for their children. However, when the obligor parent fails to support the child or children, they will be in clear violation of the law and will be punishable by contempt of court, jail time, a fine of $500, or both.
Contact C.E. Borman Child Support Attorneys Today
At the end of the day, the most important consideration in divorce proceedings is what’s best for the child. But sometimes you and the child’s other parent may have differing opinions on what that is. At C.E. Borman, our dedicated legal team draws on our decades of experience in Texas family law to protect you and your child’s rights, and obtain the best outcome for everyone. Contact us today to get started.