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Deviations from the child support guidelines in Texas

There are many parents in Texas who are divorced or separated from the other parent. Most of these parents have a child support order in place, which orders the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent. The law wants to make sure that each parent is contributing to the financial needs of the children as opposed to the custodial parent being responsible for the entire burden.

This child support in many circumstances is determined by the child support guidelines. These state that the parent owes a certain percentage of their income based on the number of children that they have with the other parent. It is a fairly ridged system, but the law also recognizes that there are situations when it is not appropriate for a parent to pay the guideline child support amount. A judge could deviate from the guidelines depending on the circumstances. When determining whether to deviate the judge will analyze a number of factors.

These factors include, but are not limited to, the age and needs of the child; the parents' ability to pay and the resources they have available in order to contribute to child support; how often each parent has the child in his or her care; child care expenses; whether one parent pays spousal maintenance; the amount a parent pays for health insurance premiums and uninsured medical costs for the children; travel costs to see the children; debts of a parent and others.

While it is presumed that the child support guidelines in Texas are reasonable, the law also recognizes that in certain situations it is not. So, after analyzing a number of different factors based on the financial resources of the parents and needs of the children, a judge can order a lower or higher amount of child support. Child support can seem somewhat straightforward, but it is a complicated issue and experienced family law attorneys may be a good resource.

Source: Texas State Legislature, "Family Code, Title 5, Subtitle B, Chapter 154.123" accessed on Aug. 16, 2017

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