When parents share children but do not live together, child support is often legally required of one parent. Texas law mandates that parents provide for the needs of their children, which typically includes maintaining financial responsibility for those needs.
Child support orders help ensure that children have the basic resources they require even when their parents live separately. It is not a punishment but rather a means of ensuring a basic standard of living for the children in a family.
There is often a lot of confusion surrounding child support in Texas family law cases. Many people have heard urban legends and half-truths about child support that leave them afraid of the process or expecting far more than they will likely receive.
Income and children determine the amount
Texas actually has a relatively straightforward child support formula. It looks at the number of children receiving support and the income of the parent paying support. The state will typically withhold a specific percentage of somebody’s wages based on the number of children included in the order.
Children receiving support from other relationships also influence the support amount. In cases involving unusually high costs for children, parents may be able to request that the courts deviate from that standard because it would be in the best interest of the child.
Support lasts until graduation or adulthood
In Texas, child support orders typically end when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. Even if a young adult goes on to college after finishing their secondary education, additional child support typically won’t be an option.
In most cases, when a young adult finishes high school or turns 18, their parents will typically no longer have a legal obligation to provide any form of financial support. However, in scenarios involving children with special needs, long-term child support may sometimes be possible.
Those who understand the rules that establish how much child support someone will pay and how long they have to make payments will be less likely to engage in frivolous demands and unnecessary negotiations. Understanding the rules in place makes it easier for people to appropriately address their families’ child support needs and to seek legal guidance when something is amiss.