The most common form of child support is a monthly payment from the non-primary parent to the primary parent, and the amount of this payment is usually calculated using a simple math equation based on child support guidelines set forth in the Texas Family Code.
The Southlake child support lawyers at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law have years of experience in child support cases.
Monthly child support payments typically last until your child turns 18 (or if they are still in high school when turning 18 then the month they graduate), although there can be circumstances where this duration is shorter or longer (sometimes even indefinite with special needs children). Most courts will require that child support payments go through the Texas State Disbursement Unit as opposed to directly from one parent to the order. To ensure that payments are made, they are often garnished from a parent’s earnings through an income withholding order.
In addition to monthly child support, courts will also make orders for who carries the child on health insurance and dental insurance, whether there is any reimbursement from one parent to the other for the cost of insurance premiums, and how health-care expenses not covered by insurance are split between parents (usually done equally).
This is the standard method of child support that courts will order, and most child support orders will not deviate from what is standard. However, standard “cookie-cutter” orders may not be appropriate for the unique circumstances of your family. If your child is involved in expensive extracurricular activities, attends private school, or has special needs, standard child support will likely not come close to meeting their needs. For high-net-worth families, it is not uncommon for child support cases to involve requests for non-standard support.
Financial responsibilities and supporting your children are important issues in custody cases. Whether you are the parent receiving child support or the one paying child support, this is likely the primary concern for you.
In Texas, child support is typically calculated based on the paying parent’s net resources. Courts will first calculate what the paying parent’s annual net resources are, then divide it by twelve to determine a monthly amount or net resources, and finally apply the following percentages to net resources based on the number of children:
These percentages can change though if the paying party has other children, not before the court for whom they owe a legal duty to support. This will include biological and adopted children but does not include step-children.
If the paying party’s monthly net resources exceed $9,200, then they are considered a maximum earner, and child support guidelines place a cap on this amount. If child support guidelines are used to calculate child support, this means that a paying party who has $9,200 in monthly net resources will pay the same amount as a party who has $20,000 in monthly net resources.
While there is a presumption in favor of using child support guidelines to calculate child support, the court can deviate from applying these guidelines going either upward or downward. Factors that the court can consider in deviating from child support guidelines include:
Net resources include a parent’s wages and salary; interest, dividends, and royalty income; self-employment income; net rental income; and other income actually being received, such as retirement benefits, pensions, trust income, disability, and workers’ compensation, and alimony. Net resources do not include the return of principal or capital, accounts receivable, or net resources of a non-parent spouse.
Calculating net resources and guidelines for child support can be simple when a parent receives a set salary or hourly wage as their sole income and has monthly pay stubs and a W-2. It can get tricky though when parents run their own businesses, have fluctuating incomes (such as from commission-based employment), or receive other income through investments and employer-provided benefits.
Whether you are the parent receiving child support or one paying child support, you will likely have an interest in ensuring that child support in your case is calculated properly. The Southlake child support lawyers at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law are experienced in handling complex child support calculations.
Children of high-net-worth individuals often are accustomed to a different lifestyle than other kids. This can include attending an expensive private school, participating in costly extracurricular activities, and going on extravagant vacations.
Child support guidelines may not be sufficient to cover expenses associated with this lifestyle of children of high-net-worth individuals. With high-net-worth individuals, it is possible for the court to deviate from child support guidelines and order more child support than the statutory maximums.
Above guidelines, child support cases are complex and require a high level of attention to detail and an attorney with experience. At Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law, our Southlake child support lawyers are experienced in representing high-net-worth families. Whether you are seeking to receive child support that exceeds the statutory maximum, or you want to avoid paying more than is appropriate, our child support attorneys will work with you and prepare to effectively present arguments in support of your position.
If you have gone for an extended period without addressing court-ordered child support, you may have the opportunity to seek child support for the period that you did not receive payments from the other parent. This is knowns as retroactive child support, and it typically arises in paternity cases.
In determining whether to order retroactive child support, Texas courts consider the following:
There is a presumption that a retroactive child support order will not exceed the total amount of support that would have been due for the four years preceding the child support case. This presumption can be rebutted though if the paying party knew they were the father and sought to avoid child support.
In calculating retroactive child support, the focus is on what would be due in the past, not what would be due now with the paying party’s current net resources. If the paying party earned substantially less over the past four years than what they currently earn, the retroactive child support obligation will be based on past earnings.
The Southlake child support attorneys at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law will work with you as with many Southlake and nearby residents to develop a game plan to focus on achieving a child support order that is appropriate for your family. Call today and schedule a consultation.