Who has to pay child support – and how is the amount determined?
Brian S. Loughmiller’s Answer:
Historically in Texas, you have one parent who’s a primary custodial parent and the other parent has the Standard Possession Order in which they will have the children 40% to 45% of the time, depending on each case. Usually, the non-custodial parent has a duty to pay support. That support is based on guidelines, and you pay a percentage of your average net monthly income. For the first child you pay 20% of your net monthly income, and for each additional child you pay an additional 5% of your income. S, if you have two children, you pay 25% of your net monthly income. Three children would be 30%.
If the parties agree to or if a court orders a 50/50-type parenting schedule, the Texas Family Code doesn’t provide specific guidelines to deal with this situation. In practice, a lot of courts calculate what dad would pay mom if he was paying support under our guidelines, and then calculate what mom would pay dad under the same guidelines, and then do some offset calculations so that the higher income earner is still paying some support to the other, but it may be a reduced amount. In that type of situation, the court has the authority and the flexibility to order what they believe is in the best interests of the children and what would be equitable under those circumstances.