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Things You Should Know About Child Support in Texas

A common question I get as a divorce attorney from my clients is always what should I ask about child support? Or, another common question from parents who are appointed as joint managing conservators of a child is why does one or both of the parents have to pay child support?

Under the Texas Family Code, the Court may order that either or both parents appointed as joint managing conservators to pay child support for their children in the manner specified by the Court order.

How long does a parent joint managing conservator have to pay child support for a child?

Our Dallas Family Law office helps parent joint managing conservators answer those questions every day. A Court order for child support will typically obligate a parent joint managing conservator to pay child support as follows: 1) until the child is 18 years of age or until the child graduates from high school, whichever occurs later; 2) until the child is emancipated through marriage, through removal of the disabilities of minority by Court order, or by other operation of law; 3) until the death of the child; or, 4) if the child is disabled, for an indefinite period.

As a Divorce Lawyer, some of our clients ask whether or not they have to pay for retroactive child support?

A Court may order a parent to pay retroactive child support (back child support) under certain conditions. If a parent has not previously been ordered to pay support for a child and was not a party to a lawsuit in which child support was ordered, the Court may order a parent to pay retroactive child support.

Is child support still payable if a parent does not visit or decides not to exercise possession of the child?

As a Dallas Divorce Lawyer, I remind clients that Texas law and public policy in Texas states that payment of child support is not conditioned on possession or access to the child. A Texas Court will not render an order that conditions the payment of child support on whether a parent joint managing conservator allows the other parent joint managing conservator to have possession of or access to the child. Similarly, the failure of a parent joint managing conservator to pay child support does not justify the custodial parent joint managing conservator denying Court ordered possession of or access to a child. Alternatively, refusal by a parent joint managing conservator to allow possession of or access to a child does not justify failure to pay Court ordered child support.

If a parent joint managing conservator is paying child support and child support continues to be withheld from their paycheck in excess of the child support order, is the parent joint managing conservator able to recover the excess child support?

Our Dallas Family Law practice tells clients that if the parent joint managing conservator (obligor) is not in arrears and their child support obligation has terminated, the parent receiving the child support (obligee) SHALL return to the “obligor” the child support amounts made by the “obligor” that exceed the amount of the child support ordered regardless of whether the child support payments were made before, on, or after the date the child support obligation terminated.

Furthermore, the “obligor” may file a lawsuit to recover child support amounts. If the Court finds that the “obligee” failed to return the child support amounts, the Court SHALL order the “obligee” to pay to the “obligor” attorney’s fees and all court costs in addition to the amount of the child support paid after the date the child support terminated.

What if a parent joint managing conservator is not employed or has no evidence of income, will that parent joint managing conservator still be obligated to pay child support?

As a Dallas Divorce Attorney dealing with child support and Child Custody Dallas cases, we remind our clients that the Texas Family Code provides for a wage and salary presumption. In the absence of documentation or evidence of a parent’s resources or income, the Court shall presume that the parent has income or is able to attain income equal to the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour week to which the child support guidelines may be applied.

May a Court consider a spouse’s income in determining a parent joint managing conservator’s child support obligation?

The answer is “No”.   A Court may not add any portion of the net resources of a spouse to the net resources or income of an “obligor” or “obligee” in order to calculate the amount of child support to be ordered. Similarly, the Court may not subtract the needs of a spouse, or of a dependent of a spouse, from the net resources of the “obligor” or “obligee”.

As divorce attorneys, we handle all child support issues faced by parents. As a Divorce Lawyer, we remind people to always consult with an experienced Divorce Lawyer before making any decisions regarding the support of their children.

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Attorney Roland Barbosa

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