When a pair of Texas parents files for divorce, they must work out an agreement regarding their children. Such topics typically include where children will live and whether both or one parent will have legal custody (authority to make decisions on the children’s behalf). Another primary issue is involved is child support. If you’re preparing to file for divorce, it’s important to understand how the court will determine whether to order support in your case, and, if so, who will pay it, how much, when and by what route.
If you are the parent responsible for paying child support in a Texas divorce, the court refers to you as the “obligor.” If you’re the parent receiving the payments to provide for your children’s financial needs, you are called the “obligee.” Since no two family situations are the same, the judge overseeing your case will take numerous factors under consideration to make decisions that fit your children’s needs.
Does your ex have other children from another relationship?
If your ex is going to pay child support and has children from another relationship, the court will take it into account when determining a payment amount in your case. The following list includes additional issues that factor into calculations for Texas child support:
- Obligor’s income
- Retirement benefits
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Tips or overtime pay
In 2021, Texas child support laws were updated. There is now a cap on the amount paid for one child, which is no more than 20% of an obligor’s income. If you have questions regarding this law, it’s best to seek answers from someone who is well-versed in family law issues before you sign an agreement.
Being unemployed does not negate child support obligations
Once you and your ex sign a child support agreement, and the court issues a formal order, you must both adhere to the terms, unless the court changes (modifies) its order. Even if your ex is paying child support and experiences a reduction or loss of income, he or she is still obligated to make payments on time.
The court understands that unexpected issues may arise in a parent’s life, making child support payments infeasible for a time. In such cases, the parent in question may file a petition seeking modification of the court order. However, until the court grants the petition and changes the order, the initial terms of the agreement remain in effect. If your ex has stopped sending payments, the court can intervene to resolve the issue.