First we need to understand that Joint Managing Conservatorship in Texas is not split custody. In a typical joint managing conservatorship one party has the right to determine the primary residence of the child and the other parent has visitation. This post is not for those situations. This post is for parents who have a child an equal amount of time such as week on week off or some other type of 50/50 arrangement.
In this situation the court will calculate what each party would pay the other in child support and take the difference, awarding child support to the parent with the lower income.
For instance, David and Delila Divorce have one child Danny whom they share on a week on week off basis. The court calculates child support that each would pay the other if the other parent had full custody. After calculations the Court determines that David would pay $500 and Delila would pay $750 if the other parent had custody.
The court awards David child support of $250 per month ($750 – $500).
The common question in this situation is why there is any child support at all since they both have equal time with the child? While the dollar amount to raise the child is the same for both parents, there is a disparity in the income of the parties which means that each dollar spent means something different to each parent.
Imagine if Delila made $100,000 per year and David makes $25,000 per year (these are not the numbers I used above for the child support calculation). $1000 spent on the child to Delila is nothing while the same $1000 for David is a lot.
One party pays the other child support to offset the difference in the parties’ income. While this might not always seem fair to the person who has to pay child support, it does offset the incomes.
If you are reviewing the Texas Family Code links above for child support, you will not find a statute covering this discussion in there. This is a typical practice of the Court* and may not always be the case. In fact, I have handled some cases where the parties do not pay each other any child support, but these were typically agreed cases.