When parents separate or divorce, child support is an essential part of family law that looks out for the interests of the children involved. Child support regulations differ across states, including Texas. After a divorce or legal separation in Texas, the state has laws to ensure that both parents continue to provide financially for their children.  For high-asset divorce clients, the process is more complicated due to the increased finances involved.

Whether you’re trying to get child support or are the one who’ll have to pay it, you may have many questions regarding the process in Texas. In this post, we’ll provide you with detailed information about Texas’s child support laws, including what they cover, the payment calculation methods, and the financial obligations and factors that apply to high-asset child support cases.

What Are the Texas Child Support Laws?

Child support in Texas

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Child support laws in Texas are governed by the Texas Family Code, which seeks to safeguard the interests of the child. The law requires both parents to support their children financially until they turn 18 or graduate from high school, whichever event occurs later. Whether parents are required to pay or receive child support, the objective is always to establish a fair and equitable arrangement that meets the child’s needs. This applies even in high-asset divorces.

Even though both parents share responsibility for the expenses related to raising a child, the noncustodial parent usually pays child support to the custodial parent, who has primary physical custody of the child.

Usually, the state orders one parent to pay child support because of a dispute over child custody. This frequently occurs when parents divorce, but it can also apply to unmarried parents. Child support is non-negotiable and fully enforceable once ordered. If payments are not made in full and on time, it can have severe repercussions for your finances and possibly result in further legal action. It’s best to contact an experienced child support lawyer to discuss your options.

What Does Texas Child Support Cover?

In general, child support in Texas is money to cover a child’s basic minimum needs for clothing, food, shelter, medical and dental care, and education.

In Texas, medical child support covers medical and dental care. Usually, the noncustodial parent’s responsible for providing health insurance for the child. And both parents split the cost of medical needs not covered by insurance.

Texas’s child-support laws value education as a factor in determining a payment amount. When the state makes a child support order, it may cover expenses such as school tuition, books, transportation, extracurricular activities, and further education. The order may also include daycare and recreation costs.

Considerations for High-Asset Divorce Cases

Due to the substantial financial resources involved and the court’s goal of ensuring that a divorce or separation does not disadvantage the children of high-income parents, high-asset child support cases present additional complexities. In addition, the Family Code includes special rules for high-asset cases. In these instances, the court may deviate from the standard child support guidelines to account for the child’s specific needs and circumstances.

Considerations in high-asset child support cases include the following:

  • The court may order the parents to pay child support based on their actual income rather than the income reported on their tax returns.
  • The court may order the noncustodial parent to pay a greater proportion of their income in child support.
  • The court may also order the parents to pay child support for an extended period or pay for the child’s college education.
  • In addition to the standard child support calculation factors, the court also considers the following:
    • The child’s standard of living expenses, including residence, vacations, and transportation.
    • Educational expenses, including private school and tutors.
    • Childcare expenses, including nannies or au pairs.
    • Security expenses, including bodyguards.

Who Handles Child Support Enforcement in Texas?

Child support orders issued by the court are monitored by and generally paid through the Attorney General of Texas.

How is Child Support Calculated in Texas?

The Texas Family Code specifies a formula for calculating the required amount of child support. Unlike other states, Texas only uses the income of the obligor parent, or the parent ordered to pay child support, to calculate the child support obligation. The formula also takes into account the noncustodial parent’s net resources and the number of children they support. Net resources are not the same as take-home pay. Net resources are income from sources such as:

  • Wages, including overtime, tips, and bonuses.
  • Self-employment income.
  • Unemployment.
  • Social Security Disability.
  • Social Security retirement.
  • Veterans Affairs disability.
  • Workers’ compensation.

Other income that the state can consider includes gifts, prizes, and alimony, among other things. It does not include income from:

  • Social security.
  • Veteran Affairs pension.
  • Public assistance.

General Guidelines for Child Support Payment

Texas law establishes the following general guidelines for child support payment:

  • 20% of the noncustodial parent’s net monthly resources for one child.
  • 25% of the noncustodial parent’s net monthly resources for two children.
  • 30% of the noncustodial parent’s net monthly resources for three children.
  • 35% of the noncustodial parent’s net monthly resources for four children.
  • 40% of the noncustodial parent’s net monthly resources for five children.
  • Not less than 40% of the noncustodial parent’s net monthly resources for six or more children.

While the law limits the Texas child support amount guidelines to a percentage of the first $9,200 of the obligor parent’s earnings, the court has the discretion to order child support in excess of them based on the child’s best interests and documented needs. This frequently occurs in high-asset divorce and child support cases.

Contact Balekian Hayes PLLC’s Child Support Attorneys Today.

When dealing with child support issues in Texas, we strongly recommend seeking legal counsel, particularly in cases involving substantial assets. Our law firm, Balekian Hayes PLLC, has a sterling reputation in the Dallas, Texas, area. We have a team of knowledgeable child support attorneys thoroughly familiar with Texas family law who can assist you in understanding your options and rights.

Our team has assisted hundreds of clients in obtaining the necessary child support to provide for their children. Contact us today for a consultation if you face child support or other family law issues.