DO I STILL NEED TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT IF I HAVE JOINT CUSTODY?

WHAT IS JOINT CUSTODY?

In divorce proceedings, joint custody refers to both parents sharing in the parental responsibilities of raising the child. Both parents are actively involved in the child’s upbringing and this can take the form of joint physical custody or joint legal custody, or even both. Physical custody deals with where the child lives, so in joint physical custody, the child will typically move between the houses of both parents. Legal custody deals with which parent has the right to make major decisions that will affect the child. Joint legal custody grants both parents the right to make these major decisions. 

WHAT IS CHILD SUPPORT?

Child support is the amount of money that the parent who does not have physical custody has to pay. This money is intended to cover the basic needs of the child which include food, housing, clothing, public education, and medical and dental care. Child support can be paid by the noncustodial parent. The exact terms of how child support will be paid is discussed and agreed upon as the divorce proceeds.

HOW IS CHILD SUPPORT CALCULATED?

In Texas, guideline child support is calculated most often using the Texas Office at the Attorney General’s tax charts that show the monthly net resources after various incomes are subtracted, such as social security tax and Federal income tax for a single person the formula used in Texas determines the amount of child support that the state presumes is in the best interest of the child. Child support is determined by calculating the average net monthly resources of noncustodial parents along with applying the guidelines that were established by the Texas legislature. These guidelines require that a certain percentage of the net monthly resources is paid as child support. Percentages vary based on if the parent paying child support has multiple children they also have to pay child support for those not involved in the current dealings. 

DO I HAVE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT IF I HAVE JOINT CUSTODY?

Yes. In cases where the parents have a disparity in the income, one parent may be ordered by the court to pay child support. If one parent makes more money, the court may believe that it’s not fair to the children to only be able to rely on the lower-earning parent’s income alone while in their care. In a majority of joint custody cases, the court determines child support as each parent has primary custody. They would determine what each parent would pay if they were the paying parent in a single custody situation. 

For example, if parent A would end up paying $1000 and parent B would have to pay $600. The court would offset the difference and order the higher-earning parent to pay the difference, which would be $400 in this situation. Each case is different as the income of the parents are different along with other variables such as the number of children involved, the number of children outside of this case that one parent is required to pay child support for. 

In Texas, child support in joint custody cases does not follow a mandate, and offsetting payments isn’t based on any legal mandate. It is rather the standard custom of the courts. The courts are free to determine child support equally based on circumstances and the needs of the children. Having the higher-earning parent pay the difference is the most common and standard procedure, but the court may decide whatever they think is necessary. 

Do you have any questions about child support in joint custody cases? Contact a child support lawyer in Dallas, TX, like from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, for a consultation about child support issues. 

Close Menu