The concept of “50/50 possession” often leads to the misconception that neither party will be required to pay child support to the other party.
However, it is crucial to understand that possession time alone does not determine child support obligations. Let’s delve into why a 50/50 possession arrangement in Texas doesn’t necessarily mean the absence of child support.
1. Child Support Guidelines
Texas follows child support guidelines as follows: The non-primary parent generally pays a percentage of their net income as child support. For example, if the parties have one child, the non-primary parent will pay as child support 20% of his/her net income (net income according to the attorney general tax tables). If the parties have two children, the non-primary parent will pay 25% of his/her net income as child support and if the parties have three children, the non-primary parent will pay 30% of his/her net income as child support. In this situation, the children will reside primarily with the primary parent and the non-primary parent will have a standard/expanded standard possession schedule.
2. Income Disparities
When a 50/50 possession schedule comes into play, then the income of both parents can be considered in the calculation of who should pay who child support. If there is a significant income disparity between the parents, the higher-earning parent will still be required to contribute financially through child support. So, for example, if there is one child and one party’s net income is equal to $4,000.00 per month you would apply 20% to $4,000.00 which would give you $800.00 in child support per month. If the other party’s net income is equal to $1,000.00 per month, you would apply 20% to $1,000.00 which would give you $200.00 in child support per month. Subtracting $200.00 from $800.00 results in the first party paying the second party $600.00 per month for child support. In addition, each party would be expected to contribute to the cost of the child’s daycare, after-school care and extracurricular activities that the child may be involved in. Even if possession time is evenly split, the financial responsibilities remain, and the child support helps ensure that both parents contribute to these fundamental aspects of the child’s life regardless of where the child may be staying.
3. Standard of Living
In addition, when a 50/50 possession schedule is in place, child support requirements help maintain a stable standard of living for the child regardless of the possession schedule. It considers not only the basic needs but also seeks to provide for the child’s overall quality of life. Income-related disparities between parents can impact this standard of living, making child support essential for balancing these financial aspects.
4. Child’s Best Interest
Finally, courts prioritize ensuring that the child’s needs are met, and child support is a key mechanism for achieving this goal. Even in a 50/50 possession arrangement, child support is generally considered necessary by the Courts to address specific needs and maintain the child’s overall well-being.
In conclusion, while a 50/50 possession arrangement reflects shared parenting time, it doesn’t automatically absolve parents from child support responsibilities.