As discussed in a previous blog post, courts generally calculate child support based upon the Guidelines found in the Texas Family Code.
There is, however, a section of the family code that allows a court to determine if it would be “unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances” to apply the Guidelines.
Texas Family Code Section 154.123 provides “Additional Factors for Court to Consider” when determining the appropriate amount of child support.
Per the Family Code, the following are the factors that a court “shall consider evidence of”:
(1) the age and needs of the child;
(2) the ability of the parents to contribute to the support of the child;
(3) any financial resources available for the support of the child;
(4) the amount of time of possession of and access to a child;
(5) the amount of the obligee’s net resources, including the earning potential of the obligee if the actual income of the obligee is significantly less than what the obligee could earn because the obligee is intentionally unemployed or underemployed and including an increase or decrease in the income of the obligee or income that may be attributed to the property and assets of the obligee;
(6) child care expenses incurred by either party in order to maintain gainful employment;
(7) whether either party has the managing conservatorship or actual physical custody of another child;
(8) the amount of alimony or spousal maintenance actually and currently being paid or received by a party;
(9) the expenses for a son or daughter for education beyond secondary school;
(10) whether the obligor or obligee has an automobile, housing, or other benefits furnished by his or her employer, another person, or a business entity;
(11) the amount of other deductions from the wage or salary income and from other compensation for personal services of the parties;
(12) provision for health care insurance and payment of uninsured medical expenses;
(13) special or extraordinary educational, health care, or other expenses of the parties or of the child;
(14) the cost of travel in order to exercise possession of and access to a child;
(15) positive or negative cash flow from any real and personal property and assets, including a business and investments;
(16) debts or debt service assumed by either party; and
(17) any other reason consistent with the best interest of the child, taking into consideration the circumstances of the parents.
As illustrated by number 17, this list is non-exhaustive. Per the Texas Family Code, all evidence on the subject is to be considered. In reality, however, whether the court will allow you to introduce evidence of any of these factors depends upon the judge before whom the case is tried, subject to review by an appellate court.