General Info on
Child Support by Eric Jensen,
Child Support Considerations
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In Texas child support is usually paid by the non-custodial parent for the support, maintenance and education of the children. Voluntary gifts, clothes, transportation, vacation expenses or rent for the benefit the child is usually not be considered "child support" unless there is an agreement, but be careful. The custodial parent is not usually required to account for the child support in Texas.Child support stops when a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, or is earlier emancipated. The parents may agree to support their children beyond the age of 18, for example, until the children graduate from college. Texas Family Code Child Support Guidelines: Child support in Texas is calculated pursuant to the guidelines contained in the Texas Family Code.
The guidelines contains tables which consider the gross and net incomes of both parents and appropriate deductions. The "basic child support obligation" is calculated by multiplying the obligor's (non-custodial parent's) net income by the appropriate "child support percentage." "Income" is defined as "net income as was or should have been reported on the most recent federal income tax return" less deductions for social security and health insurance.The "child support percentage" is fixed as follows: a) 20% of the combined parental income for one child; b) 25% of the combined parental income for two children; c) 30% of the combined parental income for three children; d) 35% of the combined parental income for four children; and e) no less than 35% of the combined parental income for five or more children.
In addition to ordering the payment of child support, the Court can order the non-custodial parent to pay health care insurance and pro rata share of the child's future health care expenses not covered by insurance. The Court also has discretion to order the non-custodial parent to pay the costs of present or future private, special or enriched education for the children. Providing for child care can also be considered by the court.Enforcement of Child Support in Texas: When the non-custodial parent refuses to pay child support, a court order or judgment for support may be enforceable by means of garnishment, wage deduction, income execution, liens on property or contempt. In Texas child support arrears are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Also, courts are placing delinquent child support obligors on adult probation and supervision, subject to reporting regularly to a probation officer and paying supervision fees.
Modification of Child Support in Texas: Until each child is emancipated, the court has the power to modify custody, visitation and child support in the event of a demonstrated change in circumstances. The modification could result in a change of custody or visitation, or an increase or decrease in the support obligation. Remarriage of either parent does not automatically result in a change of circumstances. In Texas, a child is emancipated when he or she marries, joins the armed services.