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In the Texas child support laws, it is possible for the courts to designate both parents of a minor child to be responsible for the financial support of that child, but in most cases it is the noncustodial parent who has to pay regular child support each month. The custodial parent is the one the child lives with most of the time, and there are numerous details to consider when you wish to receive child support from the other parent.
Texas Child Support Law Basics
In Texas, the courts choose a child support amount that is equal to a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s total income. The state also has a guideline chart that can help you estimate the amount of child support you end up paying. Regardless of the amount that is decided on, the arrangement has to be approved by a judge and, therefore, you cannot agree to pay less than what the courts have decided is a fair amount.
Fortunately, you do have recourse if you believe the amount being paid is unfair to either the child or the noncustodial parent, including asking the court to review your situation so that the amount can be adjusted. Even if you’re the custodial parent and merely want to know how much child support it is possible for you to receive, the state’s guidelines can help you determine that amount.
Keep in mind that it is not just the salary of the noncustodial parent that is taken into consideration. It is also tips, commissions, overtime pay, and bonuses. In other words, the state expects the noncustodial parent to declare all of his or her income so that a fair dollar amount can be decided on. The state expects parents to be fully responsible for the child’s economic needs until the child reaches 18 years of age.
Parents also cannot just stop working and expect to get out of paying child support, especially if they own property or other assets that could potentially be liquidated so that child support is possible. If the court discovers that the noncustodial parent has quit working to stop paying child support, it can assign a dollar amount to that parent based on what it thinks the parent is capable of earning.
In essence, if you are the parent of a minor child, the state of Texas requires that you support that child financially, so there is no getting around the rule.
TX State Child Support Laws Not to Be Unreasonable
Of course, the state isn’t unreasonable about the parent who is designated to pay child support, because it realizes that there are often mitigating circumstances that make it difficult for a noncustodial parent to make these payments regularly. For instance, if you are paying child support for more than one child, the court takes this into consideration when determining the amount a noncustodial parent will pay for child support each month.
The state also uses a straightforward fee schedule that helps determine the amount you may end up paying for child support. For starters, your gross income is determined, and certain types of income can be eliminated from the calculations, including certain capital assets, some portions of your retirement plan, and any payments you may be receiving for being a foster parent.
Once this amount is determined, certain expenses are deducted. These include income taxes, insurance, Social Security taxes, and union dues, among others. Next, you would divide that amount by 12 to get the monthly amount, and the amount you pay is usually equal to:
- 20% of the net amount for the first child
- 25% of the net amount for two children
- 30% of the net amount for three children
- 35% of the net amount for four children
- 40% of the net amount for five children
- 40% or more of the net amount for six or more children
Health Insurance Expenses
When it comes to health insurance for minor children, normally the noncustodial parent pays the premiums for this coverage. However, if a custodial parent has health insurance coverage provided by an employer, the courts may decide that this is the best option for the child. The important thing to remember is that the state of Texas requires that the child be provided with basic health insurance coverage, unless neither parent is eligible for regular private or employer-sponsored health insurance.
In addition, if your monthly net income is more than $7,500, the court may designate a higher percentage of your income for child support if they feel it is necessary. There is also no minimum amount of child support designated by the state, and if you are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Medicaid, you should automatically be able to receive child support help through the Texas Attorney General’s office.
Different Things Come Into Play
If you wish to challenge the amount of child support you’re paying or receiving, the courts allow you to do this, and they take certain things into consideration when hearing your challenge. This includes the child’s age or needs, your overall expenses for the child, alimony payments, any additional employee benefits such as a company car or housing, and the amount of time the child spends with each parent, to name a few.
More details about how these calculations are made, how to challenge the court’s ruling, and anything else related to child support in Texas can be found at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/child-support#1. They are easy to understand and not complex, and it is easy to get started receiving child support because all you have to do is fill out the right form and submit it to the state.
Texas Child Support Laws Conclusion
The state of Texas takes seriously its duty to make sure that minor children are properly cared for and receive the financial support they need and deserve. Their websites make it easier for you to understand how to receive child support payments and how the decision is made regarding how much money you’ll receive once the payments begin. This is yet another way that the state makes sure that all minor children have their basic needs met at all times.