child support1

Busting Myths and Rumors About Child Support in Texas 4


The area of family law that a lot of people are concerned about is the part that deals with child support.

In a divorce, it’s unavoidable for both parents to worry about finances. It is common for the parent who needs to provide child support and the one on the receiving end of it to worry about it equally at the same time.

As a parent, you will also worry about your rights and how and to what extent you should exercise it. You might hear a lot of rumors and myths from family members and friends who have been through it before or have heard about child support issues from others.

They might want the best for you, but it does not necessarily mean that they can give you sound advice that you can really count on. You might voluntarily ask them for advice, but you can never know how accurate the advice you’d be getting unless they’re from legal experts skilled where family law is concerned.

The thing with family law is that it changes quickly. What might have been true at that time your cousin had a divorce and had issues with child support may no longer be true for those who are going through the same issues now.

Aside from these, having one somewhat positive experience with child support and family law does not render one an expert in the field. There’s also a possibility that your friend or family member who is actively giving you advice does not have a truly deep understanding of family law and the complexities that come with it.

There are several myths about child support in Texas that you might encounter. Let’s try to deal with these myths one by one so that you can be knowledgeable if you ever come across similar child support issues.

Myth 1: The amount of child support that needs to be paid is decided through the Texas Family Code. This is not exactly true.

While the amount of the child support can be determined using the guidelines based on the Texas Family Code, it is not the only reference that can be used for the judge to decide the amount of the child support.

True, the Texas Family code guidelines also support the best interests of the child but it is also possible for additional factors to influence the judge’s decision.

The judge may consider the possible needs of the child in the in the future and the income of the spouse who will receive the child support before deciding on the appropriate level of support for the child.

You can also decide with your spouse the child support amount if you agree to settle your case outside of the court.

Myth 2: Equal Conservatorship Basically Translates to No Child Support.

There are many people who insist on this because they believe that this is a fair deal but this is not really true, legally. This kind of setup does make sense since the child will spend the same amount of time with each parent so it looks like there won’t be any need for compensation.

A judge might decide that this kind of setup is acceptable but it’s not the default setup for 50-50 custody splits. The judge will still consider all the other factors before making the appropriate decision.

A lot of fathers request for this type of visitation setup and they don’t want to pay compensation to their ex-spouse for the times the child is not with them.

In this case, a compromise is also possible. The difference between the bigger and lower amount of support can be paid by each parent. The State Disbursement Unit will handle the money and will pay to the parent where child support is supposed to be given.

In case your child receives government assistance, a portion of that support money will be sent to the government. If you are the parent who is chosen to receive child support, do not expect to get 100% of the numbers you can see in your Final Divorce Decree.

Myth 3: The amount of child support you are set to give or receive that is indicated in your final divorce decree is fixed until your child turns 18. This is also another myth that is not exactly true.

There are instances where the child support amount can increase or decrease. There are many circumstances and factors that can lead to this. One of the factors that can cause a change in the child support amount is when the income of the parent giving child support changes dramatically. Any of the parents can then request the court to discuss the changes in child support amount regarding the income issue.

Another reason that can cause the child support amount to change is when there is a huge change in the needs of the child. This can happen when a permanent health issue or a disability is experienced by the child after the divorce has been finalized. Requests for modifications in the child support plans can be made.

In some instances, the child support can be modified for it to be continuously paid after the child turns 18. If you think that child support is still necessary for your child after he or she has graduated from high school, then you will have to request a child support modification in court as soon as possible.

Myth 4: If you can’t see your child then you don’t have to pay child support.

In some divorce cases, the other parent loses his or her right to see their child. In fact, some lose their rights to their child completely. When this happens, the denied parent often assumes that they won’t need to pay support for their child either.

If you are a parent having child custody issues, you need to understand that the law will not allow your child to be kept away from you by the other parent unless it has been decided by the court. When the court decides that you have lost your right to see your child, you will still need to pay child support and you might even have to pay a higher amount because of the increased time the child will have to spend with one parent.

If you are the parent who receives support for your child, you also need to understand that you can’t deny the other parent time with the child just because he or she failed to pay support for your child. Failing to pay or deciding not to pay child support as well as withholding visitation rights are all subject to legal consequences.

If you have any issues with child custody and child support, it is always best to consult a family law expert so that you can be advised and represented properly. You can fight for your child’s best interest when you know your rights and you make sure that your rights as a parent and your child’s rights are well-protected.

The following two tabs change content below.
Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.