Thursday, March 14, 2013

Deviating from Texas Child Support Guidelines

The amount of child support based on the statutory percentage applied to an obligor’s monthly net resources is presumptive, but a court may vary from the guidelines amount – upward or downward – based on a number of different factors.

Relevant factors (not an exhaustive list) may include:

  • The age and needs of the child;
  • The child’s educational expenses beyond secondary school;
  • Payment of health insurance or uninsured medical expenses for the child;
  • Extraordinary educational, healthcare or other expenses of the parents or the child
  • Whether either parent has managing conservatorship or possession of another child;
  • Each party’s period of possession of and access to the child;
  • Travel costs for exercising possession of and access to the child;
  • Child care expenses;
  • Each parent’s respective ability to contribute to the child’s support;
  • Debts assumed by either parent;
  • The net resources of the obligee (the parent receiving child support); or
  • The amount of alimony or spousal maintenance paid  or received by a parent.

The court has broad discretion to vary from the amount of child support under Texas statutory guidelines for any reason it finds in the child’s best interest.  As a result, variation from the Texas statutory guidelines is not automatic, although courts are encouraged to consider the totality of circumstances of the child and the parents in reaching a decision concerning the amount of child support in each case.

By:  Cynthia W. Veidt, Attorney