Texas has specific guidelines related to the amount of child support that should be paid each month. The guidelines consider the income of the obligor, or the person paying child support, and the amount of children to be supported. While the amount child support is ordered is based off of these guidelines in most cases, child support can be increased or decreased from the guideline amount depending on a series of factors listed in Texas Family Code §154.123. The Court must consider all relevant factors when deviating from guideline child support. These factors include:
- The age and the needs of the child;
- The child’s educational expenses beyond high school;
- Health insurances provisions and payment of uninsured medical costs;
- Extraordinary educational, health-care, or other expenses of the child or of the adult parties to the suit;
- The resources available for the support of the child;
- Whether either party has possession of or acts as managing conservator for another child;
- The possession and access each party has to the child;
- Travel costs for one party to visit or have possession of the child;
- Child care expenses that allow either party to maintain employment;
- The respective abilities of each party to contribute to the child’s support;
- The net resources of the person receiving child support;
- Spousal support paid or received;
- Any benefits provided by an employer such as a car, housing, or other benefits;
- Paycheck deductions including
- Federal income taxes;
- Social security taxes;
- Non-discretionary retirement plan contributions;
- Union dues;
- Child’s health insurance or cash medical support.
- Cash flow from real and personal property;
- Debts assumed by either party;
- Any other reason consistent with the child’s best interest, taking into consideration the parents’ circumstances.
Ultimately, the court will consider all of these factors, but will make a final decision based on the needs of the child. A child’s needs, for support purposes, are more than life’s bare necessities, and are based on the best interest of the child. The best interest of the child will be a critical factor for any judge ordering a deviation from guideline support.
For more information, please visit our main child support information page or review other child support blog articles.