If you have a child custody case, there’s a good chance you’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about child support. You may have even tried to use an online calculator to get an idea of what child support might be in your case. Unfortunately, most online child support calculators aren’t accurate. They can even give you a result that’s incorrect by hundreds of dollars. You need a skilled family law attorney to help you determine how much child support is appropriate.
Why are online child support calculators incorrect?
There are a few reasons why online child support calculators are inaccurate. First, most of the online calculators don’t have the right computer programming to make an accurate calculation. Most of them don’t go any further than asking for the income of the parent with less parenting time. Then, they take a flat percentage of the pay and call it child support. Because child support percentages are different in every state, the online child support calculator may or may not use accurate percentages for Texas.
Even if the online child support formula manages to calculate a correct base support figure, most child support payments are not that amount. There are a lot of other things that go into determining an accurate child support order in a Texas case. Some of these deductions and additions are at the discretion of the court, and others are automatic.
For example, if neither parent has access to health insurance for the child through their work, the court must order the paying parent to pay extra for the child’s medical expenses. The exact amount is up to the court. However, it can total up to nine percent of the paying parent’s income. The court can also make provisions for child care expenses and special needs like private school or assistance for a child with disabilities.
The vast majority of online child support calculators don’t go into this kind of detail. They just don’t have the computer programming in them to allow you to use the program in enough detail to determine an accurate amount. Even if they ask the right questions, so many decisions in the Texas child support guidelines are left to the judge’s discretion that it’s hard to know how to accurately predict how a court might view the child’s situation.
What about cases of shared parenting?
There’s no automatic deviation from the Texas child support formula for shared parenting time. Even if parents have exactly equal incomes and equal time with the children, the court may still choose one parent to be custodial. The court can order the non-custodial parent to pay full child support even though the parents have equal time. However, the court is able to take the shared parenting time schedule into account. There’s no online calculator that can predict how a judge might treat a shared parenting situation. You need a skilled divorce attorney who knows family law on your side to make sure the judge has all of the information in your case to make a fair decision.
How we can help
The best way to see an accurate picture of how child support might look in your case is to work with an experienced Texas child support lawyer. An experienced child support lawyer can help you determine what counts as income. If one of the parties is self employed or if they’re trying to hide income from the court, an experienced divorce attorney can work to help you gather evidence of the parent’s true income. They can help you determine how things like health insurance, child care and special needs might play a role in the child support determination in your case. Call our law offices today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation.
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