In divorce and custody cases in Williamson County, Texas, many people choose to customize their child possession schedules to fit their own unique needs, rather than rely on the Standard Possession Schedule (SPO) contained in the Texas Family Code. Oftentimes the parties craft a 50/50 schedule so that each parent has equal time with the children. Whenever this happens, an inevitable question is who will be responsible for child support. One parent might argue that since possession time is equal, neither parent should have to pay support, whereas the other parent may believe he or she is entitled to child support because their spouse earns more money.
Generally speaking, when the parties follow a SPO, it is the parent who has less time who pays child support. In reality, the split in time under a SPO is a little closer to 60/40 than 50/50, meaning the difference in total time is not very great. The Family Code does not address who should pay support when time is equally divided, but it is probably wrong to assume that there will automatically be no support just because possession time is equal. Some parents choose to split the child-related expenses. Others calculate what each would pay in support, offset the two numbers, and the higher wage-earner pays the difference. In other cases, parents still follow a traditional child support arrangement even though they have equal time.
There are several reasons for customizing the possession schedule. First, the Family Code does not offer any specific rule to follow for setting support in this context. Second, the law allows the parties lots of flexibility to customizing their agreement on possession and support. Third, Judges treat each case differently, and may order support in some cases but not others depending on the specific circumstances. That means that in one 50/50 case a Judge may award child support, and in another that same Judge may order no child support at all.
It is worth noting that most 50/50 schedules are the product of the parties’ agreement, not the result of a contested trial. Because of certain presumptions in the Family Code (and unless the parties have already been following a 50/50 schedule for an extended period of time) Judges will usually give one parent the right to designate the children’s primary residence and the other standard possession whenever a case goes to trial on that issue. That means that the question of who pays support when possession is equal rarely comes up in Court.
Jay D. Smith has years of experience and can answer questions and build a strong case for you. We have helped many in Texas with customized support schedules and child support. Contact a Williamson county divorce attorney for help.