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The Foray Firm

Katy, Texas Child Support Lawyer

Fort Bend County Child Support Lawyer

Attorney Serving Fort Bend County Explains Texas Child Support Guidelines

Child support payments can be one of the most hotly argued decisions in a Texas divorce or separation. Exactly what are a child's true monthly expenses? What percentage of those expenses should a noncustodial parent pay, and should it be proportionate to the number of days a child spends with the custodial vs. noncustodial parent?

A noncustodial parent should not have to suffer undue deprivation because their child support payments exceed the child's needs or are higher than they can realistically afford. On the other hand, the children and their custodial parent should not have to suffer if child support payments are not made on time and in full.

At The Foray Firm, we empathize with the concerns of both custodial and noncustodial parents. The state guidelines for calculating child support are complicated and may seem both unfair and arbitrary, depending on the opinion of a judge.

However, Texas law allows parents to create their own custom agreement regarding child support payments. We may recommend analyzing both parents' financials and creating a customized approach to calculating your child support payments. With more than a decade of experience in family law, you can rely on us to make sound recommendations tailored to the unique needs of your family.

Texas Law on Child Support

The lawyers of The Foray Firm Houston can help you calculate a monthly child support payment that is fair to both parents and children while also complying with Texas state law.

What expenses are child support payments meant to cover? State law does not provide a detailed breakdown. Child support payments are presumed to cover basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, personal care products, routine medical care co-pays, school fees, and reasonable costs for hobbies, entertainment, and extracurricular activities.

What is the state guideline for calculating child support? As a starting point, the state expects the noncustodial parent to pay 20% of their net income for one child, rising to 40% of their net income for five or more children. Net income equals gross income from all sources minus taxes and other mandatory withholdings such as union dues.

State law currently caps child support at $1,710 per month for one child, rising to a maximum of $3,420 for five or more children. The cap is updated every six years, including 2013, 2019 and 2025.

Child support may vary from these guidelines based on a variety of factors but, absent the parents' agreement, the court may not order more than the guideline amount of support unless the child's proven needs are greater.

What factors can be used to argue for a variance from the guideline? The court—or the parents, when negotiating a mutual agreement on child support payments—may consider any factors relevant to the best interest of the child, including:

  • The custodial parent's income as well as the noncustodial parent's income.
  • Extraordinary ongoing expenses of either parent that should be deducted from their income, e.g., costs of a chronic medical condition or child support for children from another relationship.
  • Other financial resources of either parent, e.g., real estate or investment accounts that could be used to support the child.
  • The share of time each party has physical possession of the child.
  • The unique needs of the child, such as extraordinary educational or health care costs.
  • Child care expenses necessary for either parent to maintain employment.
  • Cost of health insurance for the child.
  • Cost of transporting the child between parents.

Parents can use these variance factors to negotiate their own custom agreement on child support, rather than leaving such an important decision to a family court judge. You, more than anyone, know what expenses, activities, and needs are important to you and your child. As long as the child appears adequately supported, the court will typically approve the parents' mutually agreed plan.

A substantial change in any of the above variables can also be grounds for requesting modification of a child support order.

Fort Bend County Child Support Lawyers

The attorneys of The Foray Firm are dedicated to providing reliable legal representation to families of all races, ethnicities, and genders. Contact us in our Houston, TX office at 832-919-6400. We serve clients throughout Houston, Harris County, Waller County, and Fort Bend County, including the communities of Fulshear, Katy, Richmond, and Sugar Land.

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