Child support can cause anxiety and resentment. The idea of a law-enforced payment obligation cutting into your resources every month can be scary.
If it’s any consolation, that money isn’t headed into your ex’s pockets. Rather, it is for your child. If you were the possessing conservator (custodial parent) you would probably spend about as much on the child’s food, clothing, medical care, dental care, school expenses, and so on.
Read some of the common questions Evans Family Law Group receives on child support, or contact us if you live in or near Austin area and want legal representation.
How much child support does Texas require?
Texas uses a standard formula to determine child support. The state takes the non-possessing conservator’s net income and subtracts Social Security taxes and any amount you pay in health insurance premiums to cover your child (called “medical support”).
Texas takes a percentage of the remaining income based on the number of children you need to support:
- 1 child = 20%
- 2 children = 25%
- 3 children = 30%
- 4 children = 35%
- 5 children = 40%
For six or more children the amount may exceed 40%, but it will never be lower than 40%. Parents paying child support into multiple households are subject to additional rules.
How does 50/50 possession schedule affect child-support payments?
There’s no official formula for dealing with 50/50 possession. But if you and your ex already work well enough with each other to agree on such a schedule, you can propose a child-support payment that varies from what the standard Texas schedule specifies.
Keep in mind that a judge will still review the proposed plan to make sure it still is in the best interests of the child, and the judge can override it if he or she deems it inadequate.
An “offset” is a common method for resolving that situation. In that case, each parent calculates what he or she would pay as the non-possessing conservator. The court takes the difference between the two, and then the higher-earning spouse pays the difference to the lower-earning spouse. Other formulae exist in case the offset method doesn’t work for whatever reason (like because one spouse earns a variable income). You can contact our law offices to find out what a judge is likely to accept.
What happens if I don’t pay child support?
Unpaid child support has a 6% interest rate, so failing to pay increases your debt. Usually, interest starts accruing long before serious enforcement actions begin
Once the Attorney General’s office goes into enforcement mode you may be in for trouble. Up to 50% of your payments may be withheld from your paycheck. You may be charged with contempt of court, a misdemeanor that can carry a $500 fine, 6 months in jail, or both.
You may also lose professional licenses, your driver’s license, and any other license issued by the State. The State can block vehicle registration and passport renewal. You may not be eligible for state contracts, grants, or loans. You could wind up with a lien on your property. On top of all that, the Attorney General may also assess monetary damages.
What happens to my child-support payments I my income changes?
You can apply for a modification of your child support if your circumstances change in a significant way, including if you change jobs or income.
What should I do if I have trouble paying child support?
Stay in touch with the Child Support Division, and pay as much as you can. Staying in touch generally means the department will work with you until your problem is resolved. Refusing to communicate your troubles and failing to make several payments is the fastest way to trigger support-enforcement actions.