Child Support Lawyer Helping Families Work Out Child Support Arrangements in Tarrant County, Texas
Divorce is always difficult, but when there are children involved, the process can be even more complex and emotional. Who will pay child support and how much is often a contentious issue in a divorce situation. The state of Texas has clear guidelines for child support based on who has custody of the children, the income of each parent, and other factors. While having clear guidelines might seem as if it would take the conflict out of the child support process, there are still grey areas in how income is counted and whether it might be appropriate to depart from the guidelines in any particular case.
As in all issues related to divorce, it is possible to work out child support arrangements amicably without having to get the courts involved, and skilled child support lawyer Anita K. Cutrer can help. When an agreement is impossible, however, Ms. Cutrer is prepared to represent your and your children’s interests before the judge.
Whether you can come to an agreement about child support or have to let the court assign responsibility, Anita K. Cutrer, Attorney at Law, is here to assist with over 20 years of experience and Board Certification in Family Law from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Call today at 817-854-1651 to get help resolving your child support issues.
How is Child Support Determined in Texas?
The first factor that is considered in determining child support obligations in Texas is which parent has physical custody. This means which parent the child lives with most of the time. In most cases, the noncustodial parent (the parent the child spends less time with) will be obligated to pay child support. This does not mean that the custodial parent is not also supporting the child. It is assumed that the custodial parent is providing support directly to the child on a daily basis. In Texas, the courts look only to the noncustodial parents income and determines child support based on the net income of the noncustodial parent. In situations where there is equal access by both parents the court will look at both parents’ income. These factors could include things like unusual medical or education expenses, long travel between homes resulting in high costs, and whether either parent has custody of another child or is paying post-secondary educational expenses for a child, for example.
How Are Gross and Net Income Determined?
For child support purposes, gross income includes:
- all wages and salary
- military pay
- self-employment income
- interest and dividends
- rental income
- severance pay
- unemployment benefits
- retirement benefits
- veterans’ benefits
- disability benefits
- workers’ compensation awards
From the gross income amount, the following are deducted to arrive at net income:
- Social Security taxes
- mandatory retirement plan contributions
- federal and state income taxes
- union dues
- health and dental insurance premiums and other medical expenses for the child(ren) that the judge has ordered the parent to pay
- child support for another child or children (from a different relationship)
How Much Will Child Support Be in My Case?
It is impossible to determine the exact amount of child support that will be required in each case, as the details are different for every family, but, in general, the guidelines for child support in Texas base the amount of child support payments on a percentage of the paying parent’s net income according to the number of children in the family. When net income isn’t above or below a certain threshold, the percentages are as follows:
- 1 child = 20%
- 2 children = 25%
- 3 children = 30%
- 4 children = 35%
- 5 children = 40%
If there are 6 or more children, the amount must be the same as for five children, at minimum, and may be increased by the court.
For noncustodial parents whose net monthly income is less than $1,000, the percentages are each reduced by 5%.
For noncustodial parents who have a net monthly income above a certain level ($9,200 a month, currently), the judge may increase the amount of support, depending on both parents’ incomes and the child’s needs. The level of income that allows an increase changes every six years due to inflation.
While the above are the general guidelines for child support amounts in Texas, there are circumstances in which the judge may choose to deviate from those guidelines. If there are unusual expenses for a child, such as healthcare or education costs, or if paid at the suggested level is determined to be a hardship to the parent, the judge may decide to depart from the guidelines.
How can Attorney Anita Cutrer Help in my Child Support Case?
Anita K. Cutrer, Attorney at Law, is a board-certified family law specialist with over 20 years of experience. She accepts family law cases only from Tarrant County, Texas, which means she has comprehensive, local knowledge of the courts and judges that can be beneficial in your child support case.
Ms. Cutrer takes a compassionate and low-drama approach to all issues surrounding divorce, child custody, and child support and will work diligently to help couples resolve their issues without the cost and stress of going to court. When that is not possible, however, Ms. Cutrer brings over 20 years of courtroom experience to the cases she takes on.
Child support is often a contentious issue in a divorce, and Attorney Anita Cutrer is committed to assisting families in resolving the issue as quickly and as beneficially as possible.
Contact Anita K. Cutrer, Attorney at Law, today for a free consultation at 817-854-1651.