Carol Jones Russell Child Support 1

When Child Support Does Not Follow the Statutory Guidelines


Child support is a sensitive matter that is usually based on statutory guidelines. Unfortunately, in some cases, these statutory guidelines may not be applicable. These guidelines are from the Texas Family Code, which states the level of child support that courts should base on when giving child support orders. The guidelines start at 20% of the parent’s net monthly income for one child, and it can go up to 40% to support five or more children. This is the percentage of income deemed appropriate for child support in the state of Texas. This statutory guideline is based on the belief that even if the parents are not living together under one roof, each one should bear the expenses of raising their children. However, since each family situation is unique, there might be cases wherein the statutory guidelines for child support may not be applicable. If you are receiving child support and your child’s situation requires financial support more than the amount specified in the Texas Family Code, there are a lot of things you have to know.


Factors To Grant Child Support More Than the Statutory Guidelines


There are several factors that can affect the court’s decision regarding the amount of child support a parent should give or receive.


The ability of each parent to contribute child support


If there is a huge gap between your income and your spouse’s income, with your spouse’s income being greater, and yet you are the primary conservator of the child, the court will likely decide to ask your co-parent to pay support higher than the statutory guidelines.


The age and various needs of the child


In raising children, the expenses could vary, depending on the age they’re in. The court can also take into account the unique needs of your child. For instance, if your child has started attending a private school, it would increase the expenses and the parent paying child support may have to pay an amount more than the standard guidelines.


Debts of a parent


If you or your spouse have debts at the time of your divorce, it can impact the child support amount as well. Debt during the marriage is part of the community property and community property will be divided during the divorce. The division of the community property will surely have an effect on the child support amount. If the primary conservator was awarded a bigger part of the debt by the court, the child support amount that should be paid by the possessory conservator can be higher than the statutory guidelines.


Time spent by the child with each parent


The period of time the child can stay with each parent can vary, depending on factors like distance. If one parent spends the majority of their time with the child including weekends and holidays because the other parent is unavailable, the other parent may have to pay a higher child support amount. Spending more time with your child is great but the more time you spend with your child, the more expenses you’ll have. The other parent who is spending significantly less time with the child must compensate for his or her share of the expenses.


Other Children


If you or your ex-spouse are managing conservators of other children, this can affect the amount of child support you are supposed to pay. This means that there is a possibility you or your spouse could pay child support lower or higher than the statutory guidelines. If your spouse is supposed to pay child support for your child, but he has other children whom he is paying child support for, he might be ordered by the court to pay child support lesser than what is required by the Texas Family Code.


Travel Costs

Travel costs related to possession and access to the child can also impact the child support amount. If your ex-spouse needs to spend a lot of time and money just to see your child, the child support amount he is supposed to pay could be lower than the statutory guidelines if the court finds it appropriate. This type of case may be rare, but it can happen.


Whatever your individual situation is regarding child custody and support, the court will always act according to the child’s best interest. The child support amount can vary, and it can deviate from the statutory guidelines, but the court will always try to make orders according to your child’s best interests. If you are still bothered with so many questions in mind regarding child support and custody issues or questions about the statutory guidelines in Texas, contact an experienced family lawyer to find the answers to your questions. You can also receive appropriate legal advice throughout the entire child custody and support case.


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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. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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