Thomas P. Carnes
(830) 997-7790 968 Braeutigam Road
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

Thomas P. Carnes, A Civil Trial Lawyer Serving the Texas Hill Country
Practice Areas

Family Law

Child Support, Medical Support, and Spousal Support

Unlike child and property issues, issues of child support and medical support are not at all complex. With child support, there is a formula that dictates the amount paid by the non-custodial parent to the other parent. This formula is based on gross income (reduced by certain statutory deductions to a number that approaches net income after taxes), the number of children covered by the order with regard to which support is being paid, and the number of other children, if any, that the non-custodial parent is being ordered to support under separate orders.

In the simplest case, a non-custodial parent with one child the subject of the case and no other children, the non-custodial parent will pay twenty percent of “net resources” (gross income less statutory deductions). This percentage goes up five percentage points for each child until it reaches a maximum of thirty-five percent at four children.

Unless the non-custodial parent is self-employed, or is employed out of state by an employer not subject to the jurisdiction of the Texas courts, a withholding order will almost certainly be issued, resulting in child support being withheld from the non-custodial parent’s pay check; paid directly by the employer through the State Disbursement Unit, which is also the case of child support paid by the parent directly, rather than through withholding.

Child and medical support can be claimed, in arrears, for up to four years previous to the filing date of a divorce or a paternity action.

Medical support is additional paid by the non-custodial parent as additional child support. There are two principal components to medical support. The first is medical insurance. Each child must be covered by medical insurance, whether provided by the custodial or non-custodial parent and whether it is employer provided or non-employer provided private insurance. The second is expenses not covered by insurance. Generally, the non-custodial parent either provides the medical insurance for the child at his of her sole cost or, alternatively, reimburses the custodial parent for the cost of the premium. Out of pocket expenses, not covered by insurance, are generally shared equally by both parents.

Texas is a non-alimony state. Absent a voluntary contract for alimony, there is no concept in Texas of permanent alimony. What Texas does have is temporary spousal support during the pendency of the divorce action and for up to three years thereafter. Spousal support is capped and is rarely awarded except in cases of a long-term non-working spouse, who needs training to reenter the working world, or punitively as punishment of a sort for spousal abuse. When alimony is agreed to contractually, the payor must be aware that the Court will generally enforce agreed contractual provisions such as this no matter what happens in the future. The Court could not have ordered long term or permanent alimony, but once it is agreed to it will generally not be modified by the Court.

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