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How additional factors may affect Texas child support orders

Individuals going through child support cases in Texas often have questions about the amount they may expect to pay or receive. Texas does have child support guidelines in place that establish a presumptive amount based on the number of children and the payor's income. However, there are additional factors that may also affect the ultimate child support amount ordered. Additional factors may include medical expenses that are not covered by insurance or ones that are extraordinary.

Additionally, the non-custodial parent is normally required to pay for the costs of the child's health insurance in addition to the basic child support amount. If health insurance is provided by the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent may expect to be ordered monthly payments to reimburse the custodial parent for those costs.

Other additional factors may include needed child care to allow the custodial parent the ability to work or attend school. Extraordinary educational expenses may also be included. Courts will consider the age and needs of the child, the costs of child care, the financial ability of the parents to contribute support and the amount of time each parent will spend with the child. Once a child support order is issued, the payments may be ordered to be automatically paid through employer withholding. Although the child support guidelines provide a presumptive base number, the additional factors may cause a judge to order a higher amount.

In some cases, judges may also order an amount lower than that established by the guidelines. As in all decisions affecting the care and custody of the child, support amounts are determined according to what is in the best interests of the child rather than the parents' interests. A lawyer may help a divorcee negotiate for a fair child support ruling.

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