by Amy G. Fearnow, J.D.
When you divorce with children in Texas, child support will be a primary area of concern. Child support in Texas is determined by guidelines established in the Texas Family Code. When the obligor (or person paying child support) has monthly net revenues of $7500 or less, the court will presumptively apply the schedule listed below. In the case where the obligor has more than $7500 in monthly net revenue, the court presumptively applies the guidelines below only to the first $7500. In certain limited circumstances the court may order child support payments that are different from the schedule.
Texas Child Support Guidelines
If you think that your divorce with children may qualify for additional child support than the Texas Family Code allows, it is important to talk to a certified divorce financial planner or attorney. The current guidelines are as follows:
1 child 20% of Obligor’s Net Resources
2 children 25% of Obligor’s Net Resources
3 children 30% of Obligor’s Net Resources
4 children 35% of Obligor’s Net Resources
5 children 40% of Obligor’s Net Resources
6+ children Not less than the amount for 5 children
When considering whether it will apply the presumptive Texas child support guidelines, the court will consider the best interest of child, as well as other criteria listed in the Texas Family Code. Courts are very liberal in determining net revenue and can deem income from certain assets. In addition, the court can reduce the percentages listed above if the obligor pays child support for other children.
Child Support Payments
When you divorce with children and child support is ordered, another consideration is the method of payment. The court may order periodic payments, lump sums, annuity purchases, putting aside of property to be administered for child support, or a combination of all. If the obligor makes periodic payments, the court must issue an Order of Withholding. This order can presented to the obligor’s employer, and child support payments will be deducted from the obligor’s paycheck. This process is sometimes called garnishing wages. In some circumstances your attorney can draft the Order of Withholding so that it is only used if the obligor fails to make payments.
Children’s Health Insurance
Texas Child support is handled by the Office of the Attorney General, who is responsible for Children’s Health Insurance
In a divorce with children the obligor is required to pay the child’s health insurance premiums. The above support guidelines are calculated based on assumption that the obligor will also be paying additional medical child support (i.e. health insurance premiums). Any time that court orders periodic child support payments, it must also order medical child support. Your attorney will likely draft a Medical Child Support Order.
Paying child support as ordered is a duty that can be enforced the court. Sanctions for failure to pay can include imprisonment, garnishment of wages, and/or other remedies. In the event that circumstances change, either party can petition the court to modify child support payments.
A Texas divorce with children can be a complicated matter. A certified divorce financial planner can assist you with determining net revenues and calculating child support, while an attorney will ensure that the proper orders are in place should the need to enforce payments ever arise.