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Can a Court Deviate From The Child Support Guidelines?

child support guidelinesThe general answer is yes, but they rarely do. This is a rare occurrence because the Court values simplicity and fairness. Moreover, the Texas child support guidelines are presumed to be in the best interest of the child. The best interest of the child presumption is rebuttable and the guidelines can deviate from when other factors are considered. Let’s dive into an example to better explain how this could happen.

An Example In Real Life

Sometimes life can throw some unexpected curve balls our way. This is sometimes the case for those parents who have been ordered to pay child support in Texas. For example, let’s say that a couple, Zhan and Julie Pagiuo have been married for about twenty years. The couple has two children in their twelfth year of marriage. Their children are twins, one is a boy and another is a girl. For the past year and a half, the couple has argued about various things.

The main argument is centered around their finances. Three months ago, they decided that they were going to get a divorce. Both Zhan and Julie work. However, Zhan is the breadwinner. They’ve agreed that Julie will have primary custody and control over the children. [1] On temporary orders, Zhan is ordered to pay child support.

However, right before the order is signed, Zhan loses his job. What should he do? He is no longer working and the child support amount listed in the order is based on of his previous salary that was set using the Texas Family Code Child Support Guidelines.

He would like to get the child support amount lowered. Can he? The general answer is yes. In some instances, the Court may deviate from the support guidelines. We discuss in detail how child support is typically calculated and the factors that a Court can use to determine child support in our next blog, Factors the Court May Consider When Determining Child Support.


[1] In the state of Texas, the terms used for custody and control in a Family law context is: Conservatorship and Possession.

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