Child Support Can Be Ordered Paid by Either Parent, Regardless of Who Has the Right to Determine Primary Residence

According to a recent opinion from the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas, if a parent who visits their child in accordance with an expanded standard possession order earns less money than the other parent, has difficulty meeting their monthly expenses, and considered the amount of support previously ordered to be paid when determining what house to buy, that parent could have support paid to them instead.

The Texas Family Code mandates that the Court may order either or both parents to support a child in the manner specified by the Code. The following two fundamental principles are involved in making a child support determination: 1) the child’s best interest; and 2) support should help a custodial parent maintain an adequate standard of living for the child. Most people believe that the parent with the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence should be the custodial parent. However, the Court of Appeals in the In the Interest of A.R.W. case, held that the trial court reasonably could consider that a Mother who has custody of their child 20-30% of the time could be a “custodial parent” for child support purposes.

The prior order that the father sought to modify ordered that the father had to pay support to the mother because it would be in the child’s best interest to have an adequate amount of resources available in each home. The Fifth Court of Appeals held that nothing in the Texas Family Code mandates which parent should be the obligor for child support purposes. This is important to consider when determining whether you need to modify your current order or whether you are filing an initial suit.

Shayna is a Family Law Attorney at Hammerle Finley Law Firm.    Give us a call. We can help.  The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice. ©2019