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