child-support-contentChild support is another issue that is frequently addressed in family law cases. The general rule is that the parent having the right to establish the primary residence of the child will receive child support from the remaining parent. The parent paying child support is referred to as the obligor and the parent receiving the child support is referred to as the obligee.
 
 

Guidelines

Texas has fixed guidelines for the amount of child support to be paid. The guideline amounts are usually based upon the income of the obligor, the party that will be paying the support. The amounts to be paid under the guidelines in Texas are as follows:

     1 child 20% of net resources
     2 children 25% of net resources
     3 children 30% of net resources
     4 children 35% of net resources
     5 children 40% of net resources
     6+ children Not less than the amount for 5 children

 
 

Adjusting the guideline amount – increases and decreases

The amounts under the percentages may be adjusted depending upon a number of different factors. If the obligor has other children, then the percentage of child support may be reduced based upon the number of other children the obligor has as well as the number of children involved in the family law case.

Another basis for deviating from the standards involves children with special needs. In those instances, the court might order a party to pay more than guideline child support to meet proven special needs. However, the guideline child support also includes a maximum amount of support to be paid absent these special circumstances.

A court may also take into consideration the circumstances of the obligor in setting the amount of child support. In some instances, the court might decide to deviate from the amount of guideline child support and set the amount to be paid at a rate that is below guideline child support.

As in conservatorship, our attorneys are experienced at presenting facts to the court to obtain deviations from these standards. Regardless of whether the facts require the amount to be above or below the guideline amount, our attorneys are willing to present facts to the court to seek the necessary increase or decrease when appropriate.
 
 

Unemployment

A frequent question presented to our firm addresses what happens if the person who is to pay child support has quit their job or is unemployed – either intentionally or unintentionally. A court has the ability to order a person to pay child support in either of these situations. If a person quits their job to avoid paying child support, then the court has the discretion to order child support be paid based upon the amount the individual might otherwise have earned. Similarly, if a person is unemployed, the court has the ability to order that child support be paid based upon the amount that would be earned under a minimum wage.