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How Much Child Support Should My Spouse Pay?

When parents separate, one of the difficult questions to be addressed by the Court is how much child support should be paid.  The separation process is painful in many ways, and child support only adds to the complication and sometimes confusion. Texas law provides guidelines for calculating the proper amount of child support, although the Court has authority to vary from the guidelines depending on various factors. Today's blog post will explain some of the important answers to frequently asked questions about child support. 

What are the guidelines?

The "guideline" amount of child support is a percentage of the non-custodial parent's "net resources".  Net resources are defined as the gross resources less the proper amount of taxes, with several additional factors such as cost of health insurance for the child, union dues, etc. The percentage depends on the number of children before the Court and the number of children for whom the non-custodial parent has a duty to support that are not before the Court.  For example, if the non-custodial parent has just one child, the percentage is 20 percent of net resources. The percentage for two children before the Court, with no other children, is 25 percent.  

Can the Court vary from the guidelines?

The Court can vary from the guideline amount.  However, it is a fairly uphill battle, since many Judges find safety in simply applying the guideline amount. 

What factors would the Court consider in varying from the guidelines?

The most common factors that the Court typically looks at in deciding whether to vary from the guidelines, and if so, by how much, are as follows:

1.  Extraordinary costs for the child, such as special medical needs, needed private education, or travel costs.

2.  Significant difference in income of parents.

3.  Disability of one or both of the parents.

Christiansen Law Firm specializes in handling child support matters in Texas courts, and can ensure that your rights are protected.  The attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm have successfully negotiated and litigated child support matters for approximately 20 years. Christiansen Law Firm can assist you and advocate for your rights as custodial parent or non-custodial parent.  Contact Christiansen Law Firm now in Houston at (281) 579-2800 or San Antonio at (210) 829-0101 to schedule a free consultation.  

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