Texas has statutory provisions that set forth guidelines for a court to follow when establishing the amount of child support to be paid by a parent. However, these guidelines are not mandatory. They are based on the "net resources" (income) of the parent paying the support, up to a net monthly income of $7,500, and on the number of children that person is supporting. If the paying parent has a net income of more than $7,500 per month, the court may also consider additional factors in determining the total amount of support to be paid. However, the amount of child support will primarily be based upon the needs of the child. In addition to child support, the court will also order the payment of the costs attributable to maintaining health insurance and paying uninsured medical expenses for the child.
Other factors taken into consideration include, but are not limited to, the financial resources of both parents, the amount of time each parent has with a child, costs of travel, child-care expenses, higher-education expenses for a child, and the debts of the parties. The amount of child support, and the manner in which it is to be paid, should be clearly spelled out in the divorce decree.
Michael Geary is a Board Certified family-law specialist and shareholder with the law firm of Geary, Porter & Donovan in Dallas.