When parents decide to divorce, their children are typically the top priority. To determine child support payments in these instances, most states use complex formulas that account for many different factors. Texas, however, uses a Percentage of Income model. Usually, the only considerations of this formula are how many children there are and the payor’s income.
Not all cases are the same
Since the Percentage of Income Model is so simple, there are a number of other factors a judge is apt to consider. The guideline amount is reasonable in most cases, but there is no such thing as a cookie cutter family law order. Child support must aim to give the children the same standard of living they would have had if their parents had stayed married.
Raising a child in the best circumstances is not an inexpensive endeavor. Very young kids usually need daycare or a parent who stays home full time. Older teens are usually expensive too. They’re often involved in expensive extracurricular activities and have certain needs in terms of clothing, etc.
Both parents’ income levels
Sometimes, results of the Percentage of Income Model are unfair. What if the parent who is the primary caregiver earns $220,000 a year as the president of a corporation, while the other parent who is the secondary caregiver earns $23,000 a year as a parking attendant? The guidelines would probably require the secondary caregiver to pay child support, but that hardly seems fair in this situation.
Many other factors could apply as well like the division of parenting time, costs of post- secondary education, the amount of spousal support and any special needs of a child. All these factors usually prompt the judge to tweak the guideline amount. However, the judge could also throw out the guidelines and start anew. To gain a better understanding of the dynamics of child support payments in Texas, and for help and guidance throughout this process, getting the help of an experienced lawyer may be the best place to start.