Divorce, no matter how civil, is not an event that people want to go through. Add in the factor of children, and it gets even messier. Issues such as who the child will stay with, how much child support will be paid, and so many other factors can be confusing for even the best of well-meaning parents.
In Texas, the “hows” and “whys” of child custody and child support can vary, but the bottom line is this: it’s all about the child’s best interest. No more and no less. That’s why I am often asked what the Texas child support guidelines are that direct the court’s decision-making. Keep reading as I unpack key aspects of the child support guidelines in 2021 to help you on your journey to a positive outcome for your child(ren).
How is Child Support Defined in Texas?
In Texas, child support is defined as money given to the parent who is deemed the Custodial Parent for the support of the child. The Custodial Parent is the mother or father who is given primary custody of their child or children. The child primarily lives with the Custodial Parent.
Therefore, the other parent responsible for paying child support — known as the Non-Custodial Parent — pays a court-determined or approved amount to supplement their child’s needs. The goal is to look out for the child’s best interest through the provision of income to the Custodial Parent.
How Does Child Support Work in Texas?
The courts normally determine child support payments if the parents cannot reach a financial agreement. The actual payment is calculated from the income of the Non-Custodial Parent.
Something that people might not realize is that the actual amount is also “presumed.” This means that the court awards the amount of child support based on the “presumed” best interests of the child.
Texas law actually requires that both parents provide some form of child support. Things considered to be common living expenses such as snacks, bedding, haircuts, etc., are considered to be the custodial parent’s contribution to child support.
How Much Will The Child Support Be?
Although some might think it limitless, there are caps set for child support payments. For one child, the maximum child support payment is capped at 20% of the payer’s income for 2021. Child support increases depending on the number of children involved.
Those caps are also used to protect the payer or Non-Custodial Parent. Unfortunately, divorce can become nasty, and exploitation of the situation is possible. That’s why Texas courts attempt to smooth out some of the disagreements between Custodial and Non-Custodial Parents when it comes to determining how much income should be granted to the Custodial Parent.
What if the Non-Custodial Parent Runs Into Financial Trouble?
Life can throw anyone a curveball once in a while, and Texas courts do understand that. Suppose you are the Non-Custodial Parent and start to have problems making your child support payments. In that case, you’ll need to get in touch with the court to make arrangements such as a temporary reduction in payments or other alternatives.
What you do not want to do is stop your child support payments on your own. Remember, child support is a court order, and you do not have the authority to suspend payment. You could be held in contempt of court. Get with me immediately to help you make an appointment with the court to try to get you some financial relief.
Can A Non-Custodial Parent Regain Custody of Their Child?
In addition to child support questions, you may also have child custody questions. It doesn’t happen often, but it is possible for the Non-Custodial Parent to regain full custody of their child in special cases. Circumstances can include but are not limited to:
- The death of the Custodial Parent
- Physical or mental abuse of the child
- Evidence of drug usage or drug abuse in the Custodial Parent’s home
- The arrest of the Custodial Parent
- The child is of age to determine who they wish to live with
- Attempted extortion of the Custodial Parent against the Non-Custodial Parent
Texas courts can act swiftly in the best interest of a child if needed. If you are a Non-Custodial Parent looking to gain custody of your child, we need to discuss forming your legal case. By contacting my office, I can help put you on the right path to gaining full custody of your child if there’s trouble at the Custodial home. Never attempt to take the law into your own hands.
How Can I Get Help With My Child Support Case in Texas?
I am proud to specialize in family law. It’s been my pleasure to serve parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County over the past decade. Yes, divorce can be a difficult experience, and I understand what you are going through. By working together to tackle your child support case, you can be assured that I will represent you with the full power of Texas law.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your case and the Texas child support guidelines. Let’s work together to arrive at the best possible outcome for you and your child(ren) in 2021.