Frequently Asked Questions – Child Support In Texas
Child support is like the punchline to an old joke – you can’t live with it and you can’t live without it. It’s the most discussed (and certainly the most cussed) topic in the entire area of divorce and custody.
It’s also perhaps the most misunderstood, so today we’ll answer a few of your frequently asked questions about child support.
- My ex-wife just inherited a ton of money and she doesn’t need my child support any longer. Can I stop paying?
No, you cannot. Child support is, for most people most of the time, based solely on the income of the child support paying party. How much money the child support receiving party has or doesn’t have won’t enter into the calculation.
- My ex-husband remarried a woman who is a vascular surgeon and makes a million dollars a year. He’s not using any of my child support to pay for the kids. Can I make him account for what I pay him, and show he’s banking it?
No, you cannot. Your ex-husband has the right to receive child support. That right says that he receives your support and can hold it or spend it as he sees fit. Even if he’s putting every dime back and isn’t spending any of it on the kids, there’s probably nothing you can do.
- My ex is paying minimal child support, but she’s recently remarried and her new husband makes a lot of money. Can I get an increase in my child support based on their joint incomes? Would make a world of difference to me.
No, you cannot use the new husband’s income. Child support will be based on what your ex-wife makes. Sorry, nice try though.
- I’ve remarried and my husband and I have two children of our own. I pay child support to my first husband. How does this affect my support for the one child I have with my ex?
You are entitled to a reduction in the percentage of your income that you’re paying for support for the one child. Instead of 20% it’s 16%.
- My soon-to-be ex-wife and I are trying to make an agreement on what child support I should pay for our two kids. We both know it’s 25%, but she says it has to be a fixed dollar amount every month. I work on commission and my income varies a lot during the year, and paying a set amount every month will be hard on me. I’ve asked her can we just agree support will be 25% of whatever I make in a month. Looks like a simple solution to me, but she says no way.
You get an “A” for creativity but, sadly, your proposal won’t fly. Would take too long to explain why, but take it from me that you’ll need to put money back in fat months so you can make it through the lean months, because support will be a sum certain each and every month.
- I hit a rough patch recently. Got sick and lost my job. Was out of work for six months, so I got behind on child support to the tune of several thousand dollars. My ex agreed that I don’t have to pay for those months. That’s alright, isn’t it?
No, it’s not. The two of you cannot agree that you may violate the Court’s order. Here’s the deal – when your child support payments come due (if your order is like most, then support is due on the first day of the month) – then they are fixed and cannot be modified (up or down). The bottom line is this: if you cannot pay your support in full, when its due, because of a fundamental change in your circumstances (such as illness or job loss) you should run, don’t walk, to the courthouse and file a motion to reduce your support and serve your ex with it. That’s because the Court can order a reduction in support back to when you filed. That’s the only exception. Don’t miss the boat!
There’s much, much more to be said about child support, but I hope this helped some of you.
Grace and peace.