How Texas Courts Determine Child Support Obligations

child support picture. Ripped heart made out of money

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If you are facing a divorce that involves children, you naturally have concerns regarding child support. While the State of Texas has guidelines in place that determine the calculation process, it is a complicated matter, and wide-ranging factors can affect the outcome. To learn more about child support and how to protect your parental rights, consult with an experienced Copperas Cove family law attorney today.

Who Pays Child Support?

Because both parents are responsible for supporting their children financially, Texas – like all other states – maintains a child support system to help keep this financial support balanced between both parents. If one of you is the primary custodial parent with whom your shared children live the majority of the time, their other parent will very likely pay child support to you. Because this financial obligation, however, is based on each parent’s financial ability to pay, even if you and your ex split your time with your children directly down the middle, the higher earner among you is likely to owe the other child support.

The Primary Factors Taken into Consideration

When the court begins the child support calculation process, it generally takes three primary factors into consideration.

The Obligor’s Net Pay

The court will look at the obligor’s net pay, which amounts to his or her full pay minus specific allowable withdrawals, including:

  • Social Security taxes or contributions to a mandatory retirement plan

  • Federal income tax (based on the tax rate for a single person who claims only one exemption)

  • Health insurance premiums and any other medical expenses paid by the obligor for the children in question (if ordered by the court to pay these additional medical expenses)

  • Union dues

Once the obligor’s net pay is established, child support will be calculated in accordance with this amount.

The Number of Children Involved

The number of children requiring support in the case in question is also a determinative factor.

Additional Child Support Responsibilities

If the obligor is also financially responsible for children born of a different relationship, this factors into the current child support calculation.

Exceptions to the Rule

The calculation guidelines for child support in Texas are typically followed very closely by the courts. In those instances, however, in which the court is moved to rule outside of these guidelines, the presiding judge must provide his or her rationale for doing so in his or her final orders. A prime example of just such an exception is a child with special needs that are both more extensive and more costly.

It Is Time to Consult with an Experienced Copperas Cove Family Law Attorney

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Copperas Cove, Texas – is a trusted Copperas Cove family law attorney who has considerable experience helping clients like you obtain child support terms that protect both their parental rights and their children’s best interests. For more information about how we can help you, please contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 today.


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