Even though raising a child can be a rewarding experience, it can also be tremendously expensive. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects the cost to raise a child from birth to 18 is more than $233,000. This estimate averages out to nearly $13,000 per year.
Whether they stay together, both parents are legally responsible for meeting the financial needs of the kids. If separated or divorced parents cannot agree on child support, a court is likely to consider some factors when settling on the correct amount.
Generally, in Texas, the parent who does not live with the children pays child support. Texas law provides for the following support guidelines based on the number of children:
- For one child, child support is 20% of net resources
- For two children, support is 25% of net resources
- For three children, support is 30% of net resources
- For four children, support is 40% of net resources
- For more than four children, support is at least 40% of net resources
Judges in the Lone Star State have wide latitude to adjust child support upward or downward based on certain factors. Among others, these include the following:
- The ages, needs and special requirements of the children
- The income, debts and financial resources of the parents
- The cost of alimony, child support, medical care and insurance
If either parent finds the existing child support order to be unreasonable due to a change in circumstances, it may be possible to ask a judge to rework the order. To do so, the requesting parent must show the modification would result in a child support difference of at least $100 or 20% per month. Furthermore, at least three years must have passed since the creation of the existing child support order.
Ultimately, because of the approach judges follow when making initial child support orders and support modifications, it may be advisable to address each factor comprehensively during your support hearing.