Child support can be a delicate subject, to say the least. While some people get distracted by sending payments to their former spouse or co-parent, it is important to remember that child support is put in place to help ensure that both parents are providing financial support to their child. After all, both parents have a legal responsibility to provide such support to a child that is their own. While child support is often ordered in situations where parents are not married or are no longer married, you may be wondering whether or not child support is mandatory in Texas.
Is Child Support Mandatory in Texas?
Child support is not mandatory to be ordered in all cases, but a child support order is often put in place in most cases. For those parents involved in a child support case, it is critical to keep in mind the fact that all orders made by the court are done so with the best interest of the child in mind. Because of this, parents may mutually agree to not paying or receiving child support payments, but the judge may order child support anyways.
Texas has child support guidelines in place that are established by the Texas Family Code and are meant to assist the family courts in calculating how much child support is to be owed by one or both parents. While parents can agree to pay above and beyond what the court establishes as the necessary child support payments, they cannot agree to pay less. Should the parents reach an agreement on child support payment amounts and timing of payments, it must be approved by the court.
Generally speaking, the parent who spends less time with the child, the non-custodial parent, will be ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent. The paying parent is referred to as the “obligor.” The recipient of these payments is referred to as the “obligee” parent. Many factors go into considering when child support should be ordered and how much should be ordered. Need and ability to pay are two of the primary factors. A parents need for the payments to support the child and the other parent’s ability to pay will be central to the child support calculation. Other relevant factors will include the expenses of the child. The medical needs and expenses of the child will often be central to the calculation of support.
In sum, parents may agree that no child support needs to be paid and the court may approve this arrangement. If the best interest of the child dictates that child support should be paid, the court will order otherwise. Before agreeing to no child support, however, parents should consider the problems that can come from such an arrangement. Child support can be a good way to help ensure both parents are remaining financially responsible for their child.