How Child Custody Impacts Child Support Decisions

Aug 23, 2023

Child custody and child support are two critical components that parents need to address during and after divorce or separation. To shed light on the relationship between child custody arrangements and child support decisions, I had a conversation with Caitlin Thorpe, a Houston Family Law Attorney. Caitlin provided valuable insights into how these two factors intersect and influence each other in family law cases.

Child Custody and Child Support: Separate Yet Interrelated

Caitlin began by clarifying the distinct nature of child custody and child support decisions. “They are separate,” Caitlin emphasized. In other words, these are two independent considerations for the court. It’s important to note that one parent cannot withhold custody or access as a means of avoiding child support obligations, and vice versa.

Understanding Child Support Guidelines

When it comes to child support, Caitlin shared that, generally in Texas, the non-custodial parent or the parent with possession and access pays child support according to state guidelines. “In Texas, the guidelines say it’s 20% for one child, 25% for two, and it goes up to 40% as your cap,” Caitlin explained. This percentage is calculated based on the non-custodial parent’s gross income. It’s crucial to understand that this calculation is not based on net income; rather, it considers gross income with specific deductions.

Factors Included in Gross Income Calculation

Caitlin Thorpe, a Houston Child Support Attorney, delved into the details of the gross income calculation for child support. “We’re looking at what is your gross minus federal taxes, state taxes, Medicare, and health insurance,” Caitlin elaborated. These deductions are subtracted from the gross income, resulting in the income that forms the basis for child support calculations.

Child Custody’s Influence on Child Support

While child custody and child support are separate considerations, Caitlin explained how they can still influence each other indirectly. “Child custody doesn’t directly impact child support, but it could indirectly,” Caitlin shared. For instance, the amount of time a non-custodial parent spends with the child can influence the overall support obligation. If the non-custodial parent has substantial possession and access, it might lead to adjustments in the child support calculation.

Balancing Legal Considerations

Caitlin emphasized the importance of understanding the distinct nature of child custody and child support decisions while acknowledging their potential indirect interactions. Courts aim to ensure that both parents contribute financially to the child’s upbringing, irrespective of custody arrangements.

Child custody and child support are complex matters that intersect in various ways. Caitlin Thorpe’s insights provided clarity on how child support guidelines are determined, how gross income is calculated, and the potential influence of custody arrangements. By understanding these intricacies, parents can make informed decisions during divorce proceedings or post-separation arrangements. Consulting a knowledgeable family law attorney like Caitlin can provide guidance in navigating the complexities of child custody and child support to ensure the best interests of the child are upheld while adhering to legal standards.

If you would like to hire Caitlin for your Family Law, visit and type in Caitlin Thorpe in the search bar.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to be legal advice. Each situation is different, and the insurance laws in your state may differ from those discussed in this article. Please seek the advice of a professional for any questions related to your specific situation.

Caitlin Thorpe

Caitlin Thorpe

Houston Family Law Attorney

Caitlin is a highly accomplished family law attorney, certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, a distinction held by only 1% of Texas family lawyers. With a decade at Skillern Firm, she began as the firm's first law clerk and honed her skills under Mr. Skillern's mentorship. Caitlin excels in handling various family law cases and is known for her prowess in complex property matters and child custody modifications. A graduate of South Texas College of Law, she shone in advocacy, securing national recognition. She's not only a skilled litigator but also values alternative dispute resolution, fostering client trust and comfort.

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