Do You Still Pay Child Support with 50/50 Custody in Texas? Discover the Facts

Graham Family Law > Do You Still Pay Child Support with 50/50 Custody in Texas? Discover the Facts

Attorney reviewing paperwork with a husband and wife.

Divorce can be a challenging experience, especially when it comes to determining child support and custody arrangements. If you’re a parent in Texas who’s considering or entering into a 50/50 custody arrangement, it’s natural to wonder, “How does child support work with 50/50 custody in Texas?”

At Graham Family Law, we’ll explore the intricacies of 50/50 custody in Texas, how child support is calculated, and the role that income disparities and special circumstances play in determining support payments. Call us today at 210-308-6448 to learn how child support is determined and other questions you may have, there is over 100 years of combined experience in our firm so you know you’re in good hands. Your peace of mind is our priority, and we are here to assist you every step of the way.

Understanding 50/50 Custody in Texas

In Texas, joint custody, often referred to as joint managing conservatorship, grants both parents equal rights and responsibilities for their child’s upbringing, including decision-making authority, but does not always guarantee equal parenting time. Successful 50/50 custody requires co-parenting, cooperation, and a shared commitment to raising the child.

Crafting a visitation schedule that balances the needs of the child and the parents can be a complex process. It requires considering factors such as the time a child spends at:

  • The parents’ residences
  • Children’s school
  • Children’s ages
  • Extracurricular activities

Joint Managing Conservatorship

Joint managing conservatorship is a prevalent arrangement in Texas, where both parents, known as joint managing conservators, share decision-making authority and responsibilities for the child. This means that each parent has equivalent rights and obligations, regardless of who was the primary caregiver before the separation.

There are instances when the court may mandate child support within a joint conservatorship arrangement, especially when the higher-income parent must contribute to balancing the child’s living conditions and experiences with both parents. However, if both parents have similar incomes and can provide equivalent environments and experiences, they may agree that no one pays child support.

Equal Parenting Time

Although joint managing conservatorship aims to provide equal rights to both parents, it does not always result in equal parenting time, or “possession” as it is termed in Texas law. Parents may mutually agree to the visitation schedule, in accordance with statutory guidelines such as the standard visitation schedule. If the non-residential parent lives a significant distance away, a unique visitation schedule can be established.

Equal parenting time signifies that the child divides their time equally between both parents. However, in joint managing conservatorship, despite equal rights, court-determined child support may still be necessary.

Child Support in Texas: The Basics

Child support in Texas is calculated using a specific formula. This formula requires the noncustodial parent to contribute a set percentage of their net monthly income. When calculating the support amount, the court considers a variety of factors including the child’s financial needs and the non-custodial parent’s income.

Generally, the non-custodial parent, also known as the possessory conservator, is responsible for paying child support in Texas. Approximately 80% of child support payments in Texas are administered through wage garnishment, which is when the payments are deducted directly from the non-custodial parent’s wages or income.

Guidelines for Calculating Child Support

When calculating child support, Texas follows specific guidelines that consider factors like the non-custodial parent’s income, the number of supported children, and any unique situations. These guidelines are anchored on the paying parent’s monthly net resources encompassing wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, overtime pay, and among other income streams. There is a wage cap for high earners who are required to make child support payments, meaning that any earnings over the wage cap are not taken into account when calculating appropriate child support.

Under Texas guidelines, cases of equal 50/50 parenting time should result in reduced child support.

Enforcement Methods

Texas enforces child support through several methods, such as wage garnishment, property liens, and court contempt rulings. Wage garnishment involves deducting child support directly from the wages or income of a non-paying parent, ensuring that the payments reach the custodial parent on time.

Property liens are a legal claim against the non-paying parent’s property, which can be employed to guarantee the repayment of child support debt. If a non-custodial parent fails to comply with a child support order, the court may impose fines, suspend driver’s licenses, or even impose imprisonment as a consequence.

Do You Still Pay Child Support with 50/50 Custody?

Although 50/50 custody arrangements might seem like a fair division of parenting responsibilities, child support may still be necessary in certain cases. Income disparities between parents and special circumstances, such as a child’s medical needs or educational requirements, may require child support payments, even in 50/50 custody arrangements.

Income Disparities

In 50/50 custody cases, income differences between parents can necessitate child support payments. Texas courts assess income disparities by:

  1. Evaluating the financial resources and earning capacity of both parents
  2. Applying the appropriate guideline support percentage to both parents’ net incomes
  3. Subtracting the lesser amount from the greater amount

The calculation of child support considers a variety of factors, notably the child’s needs. These may include educational costs, healthcare expenses, extracurricular activities, and other necessary outgoings. Additionally, the court takes into account income from sources such as self-employment, irregular income, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, and workers’ compensation when determining child support amounts.

Special Circumstances

In 50/50 custody cases, certain special circumstances like a child’s health needs or educational requirements may also necessitate child support payments. The court considers the child’s medical needs, disabilities, or educational requirements when determining child support, and these additional expenses may affect the child support calculations. Examples of medical needs that may affect child support payments in 50/50 custody cases include specialty medical care for a child with special needs and medical and dental coverage for the child if available at a reasonable cost.

Educational requirements, such as private school tuition or tutoring, can also impact the amount of child support in 50/50 custody arrangements.

Modifying Child Support in 50/50 Custody Cases

In 50/50 custody cases, significant changes in circumstances like shifts in income, employment status, or the child’s needs can trigger modifications in child support, often requiring child support decisions to be revisited.

These modifications may be necessary to ensure that both parents or even just one parent, continue to provide adequate financial support for their child, considering the role of the other parent as well.

Significant Changes in Circumstances

If there are substantial shifts in income, the child’s needs, or other relevant elements, modifications to child support can be implemented. For instance, a decrease in income, changes in the child’s needs, or alterations in the parents’ financial circumstances would necessitate a modification in child support.

In Texas, a significant change in circumstances for modifying child support may include:

  • Alterations in income
  • Employment status
  • Incarceration of the obligor for more than 180 days
  • Other substantial modifications to the family dynamic.

Legal Process for Modifications

The legal process for modifying child support involves the following steps:

  1. Submit a request to the court.
  2. Provide evidence of the changed circumstances.
  3. If there is an active/open child support case in Texas, submit an official Request for Review to the Texas Attorney General’s Office for review.
  4. Upon approval, a court order will be issued to change the child support amount.

The typical processing time for a child support modification request in Texas can vary and generally takes a minimum of six months to finalize the modification.

Negotiating Child Support in 50/50 Custody Cases

Attorney reviewing paperwork with a husband and wife.

In 50/50 child custody cases, parents may negotiate their own child support agreement using alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or collaborative law, promoting cooperative negotiation and problem-solving outside of court.


Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps parents negotiate child support and other custody-related issues. The mediator assists parents in resolving their disputes outside of court with the aim of reaching an agreement on child support. If an agreement is achieved, the mediator will draft a ‘Mediated Settlement’.

Mediation can offer numerous advantages, such as:

  • Minimizing conflict and tension between parents
  • Enabling parents to maintain control of the result
  • Providing an economical substitute for court proceedings
  • Enabling parents to make arrangements that better suit their particular situation

Collaborative Law

Collaborative law is an alternative dispute resolution method that promotes cooperative negotiation and constructive problem-solving without resorting to litigation. This approach involves open communication, negotiation, and the assistance of collaborative law professionals to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

Collaborative law can help parents in the following ways:

  • Maintain a cooperative relationship
  • Minimize conflict during the custody process
  • Create more personalized and customized arrangements that address the particular needs of the family.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Legal representation plays a vital role in safeguarding your rights and guiding you through the legal procedures in child support and custody cases. An experienced family law attorney from Graham Family Law can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the process, ensuring that your interests are protected and that you have a fair and equitable outcome.

Protecting Your Rights

An experienced family law attorney can provide the following services in child support and custody cases:

  • Assistance in determining child support obligations
  • Advocacy for a fair division of financial responsibilities
  • Ensuring proper presentation of financial documentation
  • Representation in negotiations or court hearings to protect your financial rights in a 50/50 custody case

By hiring a family law attorney, you can protect your rights and ensure a fair outcome in child support and custody cases.

Navigating the Legal Process

As the legal process can be intricate, a knowledgeable attorney can aid you in understanding your options and making well-informed decisions. An attorney can provide guidance and representation throughout the process of navigating the legal process of child support issues in Texas. They can help parents:

  • Understand their rights and obligations
  • Negotiate child support agreements
  • File the necessary paperwork
  • Advocate for their client’s interests in court if necessary

How Graham Family Law Can Help You

Child support in Texas can be a complex matter, particularly in 50/50 custody cases. It’s important to understand the intricacies of joint managing conservatorship, equal parenting time, and child support guidelines, as well as the various factors that can impact child support payments. By seeking legal representation, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that you have a fair and equitable outcome. Whether you’re guiding the legal process, negotiating child support, or modifying an existing agreement, Graham Family Law is here to help you every step of the way.

Graham Family Law is dedicated to safeguarding your rights and striving for a fair and balanced resolution in your child support and custody case. Our experienced family law attorneys provide personalized advice and guidance, skilled negotiation, and aggressive advocacy to help you learn the complexities of child support and custody in Texas. Call us today at 210-308-6448 to discuss your case and explore your options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who pays child support in 50/50 custody in Texas?

In Texas, even in cases of 50/50 custody, child support is still determined based on the income of the noncustodial parent. The parent with whom the child spends less time is typically considered the noncustodial parent for child support purposes. The court calculates child support using a formula that takes into account the noncustodial parent’s monthly net income, considering factors such as wages, bonuses, commissions, and certain benefits. While the custodial parent may have physical custody for an equal amount of time in a 50/50 custody arrangement, child support is designed to assist in providing financial support for the child’s needs and is, therefore, primarily the responsibility of the noncustodial parent.

What is a 50/50 custody schedule in Texas?

In Texas, 50/50 custody is typically an arrangement where children alternate between their parents every week throughout the year.

How is child support calculated in Texas?

Child support in Texas is calculated based on a formula outlined in the Texas Family Code. The formula takes into account the monthly net income of the noncustodial parent and factors in how many children for whom support is being determined. The court considers a percentage of the obligor’s income, with adjustments for health insurance costs and other specified expenses. It’s important to note that income for child support calculations includes not only wages but also other sources, such as bonuses, commissions, and certain benefits. Additionally, the court may consider other factors like childcare expenses and medical support. Understanding the nuances of this calculation is crucial, and seeking the guidance of experienced family law professionals, such as those at Graham Family Law, can help ensure accurate and fair assessments tailored to your specific circumstances.

What is the process for modifying child support in Texas?

To modify child support in Texas, an official Request for Review must be submitted to the Texas Attorney General’s Office. If approved, a court order will be issued to change the child support amount.

How can Graham Family Law help me with my child support and custody case?

Graham Family Law can provide you with experienced guidance, negotiation, and advocacy to support your Texas child support and custody case.


Request A Consultation

Please fill out the form below and we will be in touch soon.

"*" indicates required fields

I Have Read The Disclaimer*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

© Copyright 2024 Graham Family Law. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer|Site Map|Privacy Policy

Call Now! 210-308-6448

Call Now! 210-308-6448