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What is child support?

Every parent has an obligation to support their unemancipated minor children, regardless of whether the parents are married or the child lives with the parent in question. Texas uses child support guidelines in ensuring that an equitable amount of child support is granted.

Among the factors considered by courts in awarding child support are:

  • the age and needs of the child;
  • the parent’s ability to contribute to the child’s support;
  • any financial resources available to the parents for the child’s support;
  • the amount of time of possession of and access to the child each parent has;
  • the amount of the supporting parent’s net resources;
  • the amount of alimony or spousal maintenance;
  • post-secondary educational expenses;
  • the cost to provide the child with healthcare insurance, as well as responsibility for uninsured medical expenses
  • the cost of any special or extraordinary educational, healthcare, or other expenses for the child; and
  • any other reason consistent with the best interest of the child.

That being said, it has been my experience that Courts look almost exclusively at the obligor’s income (net resources).

Can the amount of child support be changed?

Yes. The amount of child support a party is required to pay may be modified upon evidence that there have been “changed circumstances.” For example, there may be a substantial increase or decrease in the amount of the supporting parent’s income. Or, the supporting parent may have lost his or her job. Or, the parent receiving the child support may have received an inheritance or has an increased ability to support the child. It is the court that determines whether the facts show a significant enough change that would warrant a modification (either an increase or decrease) in the amount of child support to be paid.