Child Support Laws

Divorce is a painful process, and it is always a difficult time for the children that were conceived during the marriage union. Child support is a very important issue that affects both parties. For the parent who is providing the majority of the care, child support is often necessary to ensure that the child or children continue to receive a high standard of care and the monetary support from the other parent is often essential to the child’s financial well being. The parent who may not have the child residing with him or her will most likely be responsible for paying child support to the other spouse. There are strict laws in place to ensure that child support laws in Texas are enacted and enforced. It is important to understand that once a judge issues a child support order, you are legally bound to fulfill the terms of that order. If you and your ex spouse have a disagreement, or if the other party refuses to let you see the child or children, it doesn’t absolve you from paying your child support.

It is important to realize that in the state of Texas, the term “custody” isn’t used. Instead, custody is referred to legally as “Conservatorship”. Conservatorship involves the rights as well as the responsibilities that each parent has. A Joint Managing Conservatorship involves both parents sharing the rights and responsibilities of the child or children; however there will always be one parent that sustains the child’s main residence. This indicates that the parent that the child resides with is the “Primary”.

“Possession” is another important term that involves child support in Texas. Possession is the term used to describe when each parent has the child or children with him or her. Possession may also be thought of as visitation. Sometimes, both parents are able to agree upon a schedule that includes Possession, as well as child support. However, many judges in Texas are not in favor of both parents agreeing that they should not pay any child support. The court often reassesses this and a new agreement will be entered upon.

The state of Texas takes a number of things into consideration when determining how much child support one parent should pay. First, there is a basic guideline that judges follow. For parents that earn $6,000 per month and less, the guidelines are set up as follows:

Number of Children Percentage of Net Income

1 Child 20%
2 Children 25%
3 Children 30%
4 Children 35%
5 Children 40%
6 or more Children Not less than 40%

There are certain conditions that the judge may take into account that will cause him or her to adjust this figure. For instance, if the support paying parent has other children, that will be taken into account. If the child has special needs, this will be accounted for as well and may cause the child support figure to be adjusted.

The Child Support Disbursement Unit has been established under Federal guidelines to ensure that the primary present receives the court ordered child support from the other parent. The Child Support Disbursement Unit protects both parties. For the primary parent, they have the legal back up should the other parent fail to pay. The other parent receives the benefit of knowing that their payments have been accounted for and will be documented that they were paid. Though each judge may choose to enact support orders differently, it is imperative that you follow the orders that pertain to your case as there are legal consequences for failing to pay child support.