For divorcing couples who have children, or for unmarried couples who have children but are no longer together, understanding child support can feel like a guessing game. Most parents want to ensure their children are taken care of financially, however they also want to protect their own financial rights.
Understanding Child Support In Texas — Common Questions
The first step in the process comes from understanding child support laws in Texas. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding this complex family law topic.
- How much child support is given for each child?: Our state has statutory guidelines to assist in determining the most appropriate amount of child support for children whose parents are no longer together. For the majority of families the amount of child support is based solely on a formula that takes into account a rage of factors such as parental income and percentage of custody. In some cases, exceptions may apply, but as a general rule of thumb: if the noncustodial parent only has one child, that custodial parent will receive 20 percent of the noncustodial parent's monthly income; two children is 25 percent; three children is 30 percent; and four children is 35 percent. If the noncustodial parent has children with another woman or man, the calculations will differ. For noncustodial parents who earn over $8,550 net a month, child support obligations will reach a capped limit, unless there is strong evidence that the financial needs of the children are more. This means the courts will apply the percentage (20, 25, 30%, etc) to the first $8,550 only.
- Child support and taxes — how am I affected?: Child support is not taxable to the recipient and it is not a deduction for the payor. However, it is important to note that the IRS allows the primary conservator (custodial parent) to make use of child tax exemptions. Parents can vary this by signing a written agreement. In addition, parents must complete an IRS form 8332 to be able to claim the child support in the years they contractually agree to. This tax information is provided as informational content only, not as tax advice. While a family law attorney can advise you on child support and related laws, it is important for you to discuss any tax concerns with an appropriate tax professional or qualified accountant.
- Who pays for my children's college education?: Child support is only ordered until your children are 18 or out of high school, whichever occurs last. There are no legal provisions for college expenses. However, while courts do not have the power to require that parents make provisions for college expenses, if you establish a contractually binding agreement regarding college expenses, a court will uphold this decision in the future.
Contact Our Dallas Child Support Lawyers
At Paula Lock Smyth Law Offices, we understand that the financial welfare of your children and of yourself are primary concerns during a divorce. Contact our law firm to learn more about your legal rights and your options. We can answer any questions you may have during a free consultation.