Changes to Child Support Laws in San Antonio Courts
Families need to prepare for several revisions to the Texas Family Code, which take effect September 1, 2018. The biggest change involves how courts will handle child support, which is almost always a big point of contention between parents.
Paying Too Much and Not Paying Enough
In nearly every family law case in Bexar County family court, the noncustodial parent feels like they are paying too much child support and the custodial parent believes they are not receiving a sufficient amount to raise their child.
Texas Courts make the non-custodian parent pay the custodial parent each month a certain percentage of his/her net income. The percentage varies depending on the number of children, with a deduction ceiling of 40 percent for all cases involving five or more children. For one child it’s 20% of net income, for two children it’s 25% of net income, and for three children it’s 30% of net income.
The Texas Family Code requires the San Antonio family court to order the noncustodial parent to provide medical coverage for the child at a reasonable cost. Medical coverage can come from a parent’s employment benefit. The cost of the premium reduces the amount of money available to calculate child support, so it’s possible that providing health insurance will lower the amount of child support.
Changes in 2018: Dental Support
Effective September 1 2018, the Texas Courts will begin ordering the noncustodial parent to also cover their child’s dental insurance at a reasonable cost in addition to health insurance. No longer can the noncustodial parent shirk responsibilities to pay for the children’s expensive braces or wisdom tooth extraction.
The dental premium cost will be deducted from the noncustodial parent’s money available for child support calculation purposes in the exact same manner as health insurance premium costs.
Changes in 2018: Child Support Agreements Outside of the Guidelines Will Be Harder to Modify
Under the old law, parents could make agreements about child support that were outside the Texas Family Code child support guidelines. It was OK for the mother to take significantly less money in child support in exchange for the dad to guarantee her primary custody of the kids.
But a few months after the divorce was finalized, the mom could undo the bargain by asking the court for guideline child support. And the court would give mom custody and the correct amount of child support.
This was a win-win for the mom, and a complete defeat for dad. That ‘no child support’ deal or ‘I’ll take less’ promise was always a red herring that non-custodial parents fell for.
Under the new law taking effect in September 1, 2018, when the divorcing parents reach an agreed payment amount that does not follow Texas child support guidelines, then the court may change the order only if the circumstances of the child or person affected by the order has materially and substantially changed since the order was finalized.
By restricting the ability of courts to modify child support to a material and substantial change only, custodial parents should probably stick with the Texas Family Code child support guidelines and not attempt to be too creative with child support obligations.