Departures from the Texas Child Support Guidelines

child support guidelines moneyThough the Texas child support guidelines are generally a reasonable template for calculating child support obligations, every situation is unique, and sometimes there is room for deviation. If there is evidence that justifies a variance from the guidelines in the best interest of the child, the court may order child support payments in an amount different from what was calculated under them.

In determining whether the application of the child support guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances, the court will consider evidence of all relevant factors, including:

  1. The age and needs of the child;
  2. The ability of the parents to contribute to the support of the child;
  3. Any financial resources available for the support of the child;
  4. The amount of time of possession of and access to a child;
  5. The amount of the obligee’s (person receiving child support) net resources, including their earning potential if their actual income is significantly less than what they could earn because they are intentionally unemployed or underemployed; and including an increase or decrease in the income of the obligee or income that may be attributed to the property and assets of the obligee;
  6. Child care expenses incurred by either party in order to maintain gainful employment;
  7. Whether either party has the managing conservatorship or actual physical custody of another child;
  8. The amount of alimony or spousal maintenance actually and currently being paid or received by a party;
  9. The expenses for a son or daughter for education beyond secondary school;
  10. Whether the obligor (person paying child support) or obligee has an automobile, housing, or other benefits furnished by his or her employer, another person, or a business entity;
  11. The amount of other deductions from the wage or salary income and from other compensation for personal services of the parties;
  12. Provision for health care insurance and payment of uninsured medical expenses;
  13. Special or extraordinary educational, health care, or other expenses of the parties or of the child;
  14. The cost of travel in order to exercise possession of and access to a child;
  15. Positive or negative cash flow from any real and personal property and assets, including a business and investments;
  16. Debts or debt service assumed by either party; and
  17. Any other reason consistent with the best interest of the child, taking into consideration the circumstances of the parents. Texas Family Code Sec. 154.123(b).

The amount of a periodic child support payment established by the child support guidelines in effect in this state is presumed to be reasonable, and an order of support conforming to the guidelines is presumed to be in the best interest of the child. However, when a family’s circumstances don’t fit well with the guidelines, a court may determine that its application would be unjust.

To learn more about how payments are calculated under the Texas child support guidelines, click here to read our previous blog on the subject. You can also visit the FAQ on the Texas Attorney General’s website for more information on child support in Texas.

If you need to seek modification of Texas child support obligations, you should hire an attorney to take you through the formal legal process. At Helene Parker & Associates, L.L.C., Ms. Parker is an experienced and compassionate child support attorney. Our staff prides ourselves on keeping our clients informed, explaining their options, and providing thorough representation of their interests in court. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.