Child support is typically calculated pursuant to a Texas standard possession order (SPO), which is the standard policy when it comes to child custody arrangements in Texas. The State begins with the presumption that both parents are fit and that both should have continued and frequent contact with the children. This presumption, however, does not mean that both parents will have equal parenting time. If you have child support concerns, consult with an experienced Central Texas family law attorney today.
Texas Standard Possession Order
Texas’s SPO refers to the minimum parenting time that the noncustodial parent – the parent other than the parent with whom the children primarily live – should have. The custodial parent is granted significantly more parenting time (measured in overnights) over the course of a year than the noncustodial parent. Because the custodial parent is presumed to incur more of the children’s living expenses, the noncustodial parent pays the custodial parent-child support and medical support (including dental as of September 1, 2018) that is calculated according to Texas child support guidelines.
Child Support Guidelines
Under Texas child support guidelines, the noncustodial parent’s child support payment is calculated according to a specific percentage of the parent’s net income. The percentage employed depends upon how many children the parent supports. There are, however, certain factors that allow the court to deviate from the guidelines.
If you and your ex have your children an equal amount of overnights each year, you have a 50/50 possession schedule, and you both presumably split the children’s living expenses more evenly. The courts, however, do not have an official formula for lowering child support in these instances. Instead, you have three primary options to consider:
You and your divorcing spouse can agree to an amount of child support that is different than the state’s calculation, but the judge must agree that this deviation is in the best interests of the children. If you reach such an agreement via mediation, the court will not adjust the amount.
You can offset the amount each of you would pay if you were each to pay the other child support – whoever would owe more will pay the other parent the difference in child support.
You and your spouse can calculate child support based on a specific ratio of income in relation to spousal maintenance. This simply means that your child support will be calculated in relation to the payor’s lessened income and the payee’s increased income (due to spousal maintenance paid).
It is important to recognize that no matter how you calculate child support for your 50/50 possession schedule, the court will have to sign off on it.
If You Have Child Support Concerns, Consult with an Experienced Central Texas Family Law Attorney Today
Attorney Brett H. Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Central Texas has the experience, skill, and knowledge to help you with your child custody and child support concerns. Mr. Pritchard is here to help, so please contact or call us at (254) 220-4225 today.