The Reality About Child Support Payments in Texas

A man holds the hand of his young daughter as they walk through a field.

Child support is one of the most important and talked about aspects of family law. It has become the subject of news and celebrity tabloids as well as a plot point for many forms of media. While this influx of information has increased awareness of child support, it has also led to misinformation that causes many Texas parents to question what it is and how it may affect their children’s lives. 

That’s why Alison Grant, Attorney at Law, is dedicated to ensuring that Texas parents can get the resources and information they need to make the best decisions for their children. Don’t become stressed over misinformation. Separate fact from fiction with this guide put together by our team to help you understand the reality of child support payments in the State of Texas.

Addressing the Myths Surrounding Texas Child Support and Child Support Payments

Myth #1: Men Are Not Able to Collect Child Support Payments

There is a misconception that men cannot receive child support payments because they’re seen societally as the breadwinners of the household. While this may have been partially true back in the early 1900s and 2000s, societal norms have changed so that both men and women make a steady income. Texas law protects a father’s right to child support if they have custody of the child.

Myth #2: Overtime and Bonuses for Your Income Does Not Count Towards Child Support

The State of Texas uses the percentage of gross income model to determine the amount of child support that the noncustodial parent has to pay. Gross income includes the following:

  • Wages
  • Salary
  • Commissions
  • Tips
  • Overtime
  • Bonuses

Even in the case that the noncustodial parent loses their job, they may still receive income that can be used to pay for child support. In addition to the normal sources of gross income, the following is also taken into consideration:

  • Severance pay
  • Unemployment bBenefits
  • Rental income from an owned property
  • Social security
  • Worker’s compensation benefits
  • Gifts
  • Prizes
  • Alimony

In some cases, the judge may add additional income value for assets that don’t produce income, such as a second house or car. Value may also be added for inherited property with the potential to be sold. If the judge determines that these property values should be considered income for the noncustodial parent, the market value of the asset will be added to the amount.

Myth #3: If I Don’t See My Kids, I Don’t Have to Pay Child Support

The State of Texas treats child visitation and child support as two separate issues. Even if you do not visit your child, you are still expected to pay child support. In addition, the noncustodial parent cannot refuse you child visitation because you are behind on or have failed to pay child support, just as you cannot withhold child support payments because you haven’t seen your child.

Myth #4: Child Support For One Child Is Always 20% of My Net Income

This is partially true under Texas State Child Support Laws. Typically, child support payments are calculated by taking the amount of net income and multiplying it by a percentage based on how many children the parent supports. This usually looks like the following:

  • 1 Child — 20%
  • 2 Children — 25%
  • 3 Children — 30%
  • 4 Children — 35%
  • 5 Children — 40%

There are exceptions to this general rule.  These percentages generally apply when your net monthly income is up to $7,500. If it is more than that, the judge can increase the support award depending on both parent’s income and the needs of the child.

Are Texas Child Support Guidelines Flexible?

Yes. Either the custodial or noncustodial parent can request an increase or decrease if they can show the judge that the amount they are receiving or paying is unfair, or that it isn’t meeting the child’s needs. When deciding to change the amount of child support being paid, the judge will review the following factors:

  • The child’s age and needs, such as medical
  • The custodial parent’s income and whether it is sufficient to support the child
  • Financial resources, assets, income, and debts
  • The amount of time the child spends with each parent
  • The custodial parent’s net income and resources
  • Childcare costs
  • The managing conservatorship or legal custody
  • The non-custodial parent’s alimony payments
  • The child’s post-secondary education costs
  • Whether the parent has unusual employment benefits, such as paid housing
  • Wage deductions from either parent
  • Cost of health insurance and which parent is providing it for the child
  • Extraordinary costs, such as education or health care
  • The child’s travel costs between both parents
  • Income from property and other assets

These factors can be reviewed at any time, especially if the noncustodial parent has a change in lifestyle, such as getting laid off from work.

Regardless of whether you are the custodial or noncustodial parent, it is important to have an attorney to protect your rights and ensure your fair treatment. Alison Grant, Attorney at Law, can provide you with the advice and information you need to successfully navigate child custody and child support cases. Contact our firm today for more information or to schedule a consultation.

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