Child support is governed by the guidelines set forth in the Texas Family Code. The court will look at the gross income of the Obligor, the person paying support, and will convert it to net income for purposes of computing child support. The child support net is not necessarily the net amount an Obligor actually brings home. For purposes of calculating child support, taxes are deducted as if the Obligor claimed “1” for withholding purposes, which is not always the case.
Additionally, an Obligor may have other things deducted from their paycheck that are not deducted when child support is computed. For instance, car payments, retirement or pension contributions, and health savings account contributions are not deducted from gross income when computing net income for child support purposes. Once net is computed, the child support is calculated using the number of children that an Obligor has, including those who are before the court and those who are not.
You probably noticed that I did not mention the income of the Obligee, the person receiving child support. In Texas, the Obligee’s income does not affect the amount the Obligor pays. Rather, Texas looks at each parent’s obligation to support their children independently of the other parent’s income. Both parents have an obligation to support their child and the child has the right to be supported by both parents.
Behind in Child Support Payments?
If you are behind in child support, you can be placed in jail for up to 6 months and on community supervision for up to 10 years. There are also many other avenues available for collecting past due child support, including: liens, levies, garnishments, and IRS intercepts. Obligees can request the services of the Attorney General to enforce child support obligations. Obligors, on the other hand, are entitled to a court appointed attorney if the enforcing party requests incarceration as a potential punishment.
Modification of Child Support
Another frequent topic of concern is the modification of child support. Basically, any time there is a change in income, number of children, or possession of the children, a modification may be warranted. Typically, under a Texas order, child support is not automatically modified when a change occurs, but rather a suit for modification must be filed. The exception is that most Texas orders provide for a change in child support as a child for whom child support is paid, emancipates. If you have an order that does not reduce as children emancipate, I suggest having it reviewed to determine if a modification should be filed.
Children’s Medical Expenses
The court will also address health insurance for the children and the allocation of uncovered medical expenses. The Obligor is usually required to provide health insurance either by providing it directly or reimbursing the Obligee the cost of health insurance premiums. Additionally, in most circumstances, both parties are ordered to pay 50% of uncovered medical expenses for the children.
Fort Worth Family Law Attorney to Protect Your Rights
Having worked for the Attorney General’s Office in the child support division, I am very familiar with all the intricacies of child support. If you have questions, please contact my office at (817) 842-2336 to set up a consultation.