Multiple Households and Child Support Can be Complicated
Texas courts always base matters related to children on the best interests of those children, and often this means that one of the parents’ homes becomes the kids’ primary household and that the other parent pays child support to this primary custodial parent. Sometimes, however, the children’s best interests are better served when they are divided between the parents’ households. In these instances, both parents owe each other child support (in accordance with the state’s calculation guidelines), and the parent who owes the greater amount pays child support (that is offset by the lesser child support amount) to the other parent. A recent Texas case highlights how the concept of multiple households plays into this equation.
The Case in Question
When they divorced in 2012, both parents were named joint managing conservators of their four children, and the mother became the primary custodial parent with whom the children lived primarily. The father originally paid $1,400 in child support, which was later modified to $2,992.50 per month.
In 2018, the father became the primary custodial parent of the couple’s oldest child, and child support was recalculated. The court ruled that the funds the mother received for child support from the father should not be included in the new child support calculation. As such, the father was ordered to pay the mother $2,341 in child support each month, and the mother was ordered to pay the father $167.64 per month.
The Father’s Appeal, Citing Multiple Households
The father appealed the court’s ruling on the following grounds:
The child support payments the mother received from him should have been included in the new child support calculation.
Texas Family Code allows that, when multiple households are due child support, the child support received by the obliger must be included in his or her net resources.
Since the mother owed him child support, her resources – as the obligor in this instance – should include the child support she receives from him.
The issue brought before the court, in this case, is the meaning of the term multiple households.
The Court’s Interpretation
The court found that the meaning of multiple households here means multiple households in which there are children whom the obligor has a duty to support but who are not before the court in the current case. In other words, multiple households – in this instance – would mean that the mother was supporting children whom she had with someone other than the father of the children before the court. Ultimately, the appeals court found that the parents’ two homes did not qualify as multiple households and, thus, the child support paid by the father should not be included in the calculation for child support payments paid by the mother.
Seek the Professional Guidance of an Experienced Killeen Family Law Attorney Today
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is an esteemed family law attorney who dedicates his practice to helping clients like you obtain just case resolutions. We are on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.