In most cases, child support determinations are relatively straightforward in Texas. The Lone Star State is a percentage-of-income state. Essentially the only two factors in the child support guidelines are the number of children in the case and the obligor’s (person paying support) net income. However, if the obligor’s income is difficult to determine or there are other unusual circumstances, child support determination could be the most time-consuming portion of a divorce matter.
The diligent Arlington child support lawyers at the Welch Law Firm do our best to accurately determine the obligor’s income without resorting to invasive, expensive, and time-consuming tactics.
Child Support Guidelines
Texas law provides a presumption that every party paying child support should pay based on the same formula. The law provides percentages based on the number of children before the court and the party’s total number of children. The law then applies those percentages to an obligor’s net income. Net income is gross income minus allowable deductions. Some payroll deductions, such as voluntary over-withholding and retirement account contributions, do not affect net income for child support purposes. If the obligor is self-employed, owns a business, or operates a side business, income calculation can be far more complex.
Deviating from the Guidelines
The guideline amounts are presumptively reasonable, and this presumption is very strong. However, there are many circumstances that could support deviation from the guidelines, such as:
- Child’s age,
- Child’s special needs,
- Parenting time division,
- Total amount of resources available,
- Children not before the court,
- Visitation travel costs, and
- Uninsured medical costs.
Most child support orders require obligors to maintain medical insurance and dental insurance, for the children. Furthermore, these orders normally require the parents to split uninsured medical expenses 50-50.
Child Support Enforcement Actions
Only about half of obligees (people receiving support) receive their full child support allotments. When a party violates the order by failing to pay the child support as ordered they are subject to an enforcement action. An enforcement action sets forth a court order and how the other party has violated that order. The primary purpose of an enforcement is to force the party ordered to pay support into actually paying the support. Once a party is proved to have failed to pay, the Court will order them to make the payments under the threat of contempt. The Court ultimately has the power to incarcerate a party until they pay or for a set period as punishment for failing to pay.
For a confidential consultation with an experienced child support & custody lawyer in Arlington, contact the Welch Law Firm PLLC. After-hours, virtual, and home visits are available.