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What If I Can't Afford Child Support?

Posted by Robert Luttrell | Apr 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

When people divorce, they often worry about how the separation will affect their finances, particularly if they have to care for kids as well. The parent who gets full physical custody of the child, or the one the child will live with, will not have to pay additional child support on top of caring for the daily care of that child. The court assumes whoever is paying for a child's room, board, education, and health care is contributing their fair share of child support.

However, the non-custodial parent, or the person who is spending less time with the child, will have to pay a monthly sum to the custodial parent to make up for the fact that they are paying less for the daily care of their kids.

How Child Support Is Determined

Some parents are concerned they will not be able to afford the monthly payments child support entails. They might know divorced couples who pay $300 to $500 a month for the care and maintenance of their children. On minimum wage, this could seem like an expense a newly divorced parent can't afford, particularly on top of having to pay for a new apartment or home. What they don't know is that the state of Texas calculates child support based on a significant number of factors.

These factors include the following:

  • Age of the child
  • Each parent's financial ability, income, assets, and resources
  • Child care expenses
  • Number of children
  • Medical and health care expenses
  • Educational expenses
  • Employer benefits
  • Debts or other financial obligations
  • Wage deductions
  • Travel costs
  • Automobile, mortgage, or lease payments

Typically, the court will rely on a scale to determine child support, such as one child getting 20% of net resources of the non-custodial parent. However, the court won't make you pay what you can't afford. While you do have an obligation under the law to contribute to your child's care, the court will try and make it fair. There is no point paying excessive amounts of child support if you are later unable to pay for anything at all.

Likewise, if you are out of a job, the court may alter or even suspend child support payments until you have acquired a new position. If you previously had a job when the child support order was originally issued, and you lost your job a month later, you are allowed to ask the court for a modification. You must have experienced a substantial shift in your circumstance in order to request that the court change your order. It can be done through a court hearing or through the child support review process (CSRP). CSRP is usually faster than scheduling a court hearing and works best if both parents can agree on it.

Get Started On Your Case Today

If you're worried about affording your child support payments, make sure you have an  experienced Cleburne divorce attorney on your side. Our skilled lawyer will not only know the Texas laws regarding divorce and child support, but he will also ensure you are excellently represented in front of the judge. Our founding attorney, Robert E. Lutrell III has more than 15 years of legal experience to put to work on your case.

About the Author

Robert Luttrell

Learn more about Attorney at Law, Robert E. Luttrell III Attorney Robert E. Luttrell III is a dedicated attorney who has years of experience in various types of law including family, divorce, child custody, criminal defense, b...


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