What You Should Know About Child Support in Texas

Child Support in Texas

Four types of child support are available in Texas, any of which can be sought in court and can be brought separately or at the same time. 

The four types of child support available in Texas are current child support, medical child support, retroactive child support, and temporary child support. A further break down of the different types, so that you can better understand which fits your situation, follows:

  • Current child support is an obligation imposed on a parent to support his child for a period of time following the entry of a final judgment
  • Medical child support is a lump-sum payment or series of periodic payments made to cover the child’s medical expenses, including health-insurance coverage
  • Retroactive child support is a repayment of monies spent for the care of the child in the past
  • Temporary child support is awarded to support the child until a final judgment is entered.

Child Support Guidelines

The Texas Family Code provides guidelines for all aspects of child support. Guideline child support is calculated on the first $8,550.00 the parent earns each month unless there is a reason to deviate from the guidelines. If the parent’s monthly net resources are $8,550.00 or less, the amount of child support is calculated as a percentage of that amount. If there is only one child, child support would be 20% of the parent’s net resources. If there is more than one child, or there are children in different households, the percentages change.

If the parent’s monthly net resources are over this amount, the amount of child support is calculated as a percentage of the first $8,550.00 and then adjusted based on the child’s proven needs. The Attorney General’s Office adjusts the guidelines every six years. 

It’s important to remember the child support guidelines are just guidelines. To adjust the child support guidelines, it must be proven that the child’s needs exceed the presumptive amount of child support. The needs of the child are based on the child’s best interest. They include more than just life’s bare necessities, but they do not turn on the parents’ ability to pay or the family lifestyle.

Calculating the net resources of a parent for child support can be difficult at times. The court must determine the sum of all resources available on an annual basis. Some of the resources to consider include wages, bonuses, commissions, severance or retirement pay, social security and disability benefits, alimony, rental income, child support, interest income, capital gains, gifts, and prizes. 

Sometimes, a parent will intentionally become under- or unemployed to avoid paying child support. The court must be shown that the child support-avoiding parent is making significantly less than he or she made in the past and that the parent has chosen to be under or unemployed. In Texas, child support is taken from unemployment benefits through wage withholding. Up to 50% of unemployment earnings can be withheld to satisfy current monthly child support obligations.

The Office of the Attorney General of Texas assists parents with child support. Child support payments should be made to the state disbursement unit. The Attorney General’s office will keep track of the child support payments, disburse the child support payments, modify the child support payments, and enforce the child support orders. Child support withholding orders are signed at the same time as the final order. Withholding orders are helpful because the child support payments can be pulled directly from the parent’s paycheck. This helps ensure that payments are made on time and in the correct amount.

Child Support for Adult Children

Child support may be available for adult disabled children. When determining the amount of child support, the court must consider the child’s existing and future needs, the parent’s willingness to pay or provide for care or supervision, the parents’ financial resources, and other financial resources.

Medical child support is in addition to the amount a parent is required to pay for child support under the guidelines. A parent may be ordered to provide health insurance for a child at a “reasonable cost.” The cost of health insurance coverage is reasonable if it does not exceed 9% of the parent’s annual resources. Medical child support also includes the cost of unreimbursed medical expenses, dental and vision. These further medical expenses are typically split between the parents but can be adjusted by the court.

Retroactive child support is payment for prior months where no child support was paid. Retroactive child support can be awarded at the discretion of the judge and can typically go back as much as four years.

If you have questions or need assistance with a matter involving child support, call us today at 210-368-9708 or click here to schedule a consultation. Tessmer Law Firm, PLLC are your San Antonio attorneys putting families first!

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