Parents explaining child support law for joint custody to son

How Does Child Support Work If We Have Joint Custody?

When faced with child support legal issues, you may have more questions than answers about how the Texas legal system works. I understand how complicated the divorce process is, especially when it comes to child support. One key issue is understanding how child support works when the Texas Family Court decides on joint custody.

This determination may seem straightforward. However, if you don’t have appropriate legal representation in court, you could, unfortunately, risk losing certain parental rights or paying an incorrect amount of child support. I encourage you to find out more about the most important child support elements, especially how a court decides on joint custody between parents.

The Legal Definition of Joint Custody in Texas

In Texas, the terms “custody” and “conservatorship” mean the same thing, but the state normally uses “conservatorship” in court proceedings. In the event of joint custody, this means that the spouses have equal decision-making rights about the welfare of their children. Commonly, this authority is shared equally, no matter who the child is living with.

However, joint conservatorship is not automatic. If there is evidence of family violence or abuse, then joint conservatorship could be eliminated from the equation in favor of ensuring the welfare of the child(ren).

How is Child Support Determined if Joint Custody is Ordered?

Even when the parents are ordered to be named joint managing conservators (joint custody) by agreement or a judicial ruling, there is still what’s commonly known as a “primary parent.” This parent typically has the right to designate the primary residence of the child and the right to receive child support. Whichever parent lives predominantly with the child is considered the “custodial parent.” Conversely, the parent who the child does not live with is known as the “non-custodial parent.”

The custodial parent’s day-to-day living costs such as clothing, school fees, and food and are considered the custodial parent’s child support contribution.

The non-custodial parent is the one who normally will be ordered to pay child support. This parent will essentially supplement the custodial parent with their child support payments.

How is Financial Determination Calculated for the Owing Parent?

Texas uses a Monthly Child Support Calculator to help determine child support, but the actual amount ordered by the court will vary. The non-custodial parent’s income and the number of children involved are the driving forces that determine the amount of child support to be paid.

Child support is not limitless; many circumstances can affect payment. Some examples include:

  • A change to one or both parents’ marital status
  • The death of a parent or child
  • Generally, in Texas, when a child turns 18, the payments will cease

Child Support in Texas is calculated based on the non-custodial parent’s net income. A percentage is applied to the paying parent’s net income to determine their monthly child support payments. The percentage according to the child support guidelines in the Texas Family Code for one child is 20% of the paying conservator’s net income, and an additional 5% for each child after that, up to a maximum of 40%. There are several factors that can alter this percentage, such as if you have another child in a new relationship or if the parties agree to set child support outside the guidelines.

Also, there are caps set in place that help to protect either parent from becoming exploited. Currently, that cap for one child is set at $1,840 a month in Texas.

Here to Help With Your Child Support Case

An average of 8.4 per 1,000 couples in Texas experience divorce annually, which is higher than the U.S. average of 7.7 per 1,000 couples. That means that you, a family member, or a friend, have likely gone through a divorce and have questions about issues such as joint custody and child support.

I will help you move on to the next phase of your life as quickly and efficiently as possible during this challenging time and vigorously defend your parental rights when finalizing a divorce or custody case.

My practice is focused exclusively on family law so that I can form the best possible defense for your case. I’ll help you understand in plain language exactly how to navigate child support laws in Texas regarding child custody.

Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your case. I have helped countless parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County arrive at the best possible outcome receiving or paying their fair share of child support payments. I’m ready to provide the same help to you and your family!