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Are Texas Child Support Calculation Methods Outdated?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Child Support

Texas child support attorney, Texas family law attorney, Texas Family Code, Twenty years ago, the Dallas Cowboys won their most recent Super Bowl against their archrivals from Pittsburgh. Cornerback Larry Brown intercepted two second-half passes from Neil O'Donnell, which the Cowboys turned into two touchdowns, and Red "First Dahwwnn" Cashion was the referee. Now, the game and its participants are largely relegated to NFL Films retrospectives and documentaries.

Twenty years ago, or 1995 to be exact, also saw significant changes to the Texas Family Code. But instead of perusing through cable TV channels ad nauseam, one need only walk into a Texas family court to experience these changes firsthand. Because, at a time when some other states are updating their child support laws, lawmakers in the Lone Star State show no inkling to do so, recent technical changes notwithstanding.

Guideline Support

Much of the nationwide trend is geared towards the way child support is calculated. Texas is one of only a handful of states that use a percentage-of-income model which mandates that obligors pay a set portion of their incomes, almost regardless of the family's circumstances.

About the only relevant factor is the number of children before the court: the scale begins at 20 percent for one child and ends at 40 percent for five or more children. Those percentages have remained essentially unchanged since the Family Code was written in the 1970s.


In many complex custody cases, the guideline amount may be "unjust or inappropriate," to use the language in Section 154.130(b). The percentage-of-income system sometimes produces unjust results, and a low-income noncustodial parent pays child support to a high-income custodial parent. Other times, depending on the needs of the children, the set percentages that were conceived in the 1970s are insufficient to meet the family's needs.

In these cases, judges have the ability to depart from the child support guidelines and order another amount, based on:

  • Relative economic positions of the parents;
  • Ages and needs of the children;
  • Property division in a high asset divorce;
  • Amount of access to children; and
  • Extraordinary needs of the children.

The judge will also adopt a written agreement between the parents, if that agreement reflects the best interests of the children.

The child support amount is not set in stone. For prompt assistance in this matter, contact an aggressive Leander complex custody attorney. Call Powers and Kerr, PLLC at 512.610.6199 today.  We routinely handle cases in Travis County, Williamson County, and nearby jurisdictions.





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