New tax and child support considerations for 2019 in Texas affect married couples who are contemplating divorce and unmarried parents seeking court orders for child support, conservatorship, and shared parenting time with children. 

Here’s what’s going on:

1. The Dependent Exemption for claiming children is gone beginning with your 2018 taxes (the ones you file in 2019), but the Child Tax Credit (which is tied to dependency of a child under age 17) has increased in amount and the income phase-outs are higher.  It is important to consider which parent will be the “custodial” parent who claims Head of Household, the Child Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.  Keep in mind the custodial parent can give the Child Tax Credit to the noncustodial parent in any year using IRS form 8332.

2.  Alimony and spousal maintenance will no longer be tax deductible to the payer and taxable to the receiver for divorces finalized in 2019 and thereafter.  The old law allowing alimony and spousal maintenance to be deductible to the payer and taxable to the receiver will still apply when ex-spouses modify divorce decrees and separation agreements that were completed before 2019 unless the parties state that the new law applies to the modification. 

3.  On September 1, 2018 Texas began requiring parents who are divorcing, or who are not married but are establishing court orders for children about child support, to provide not only medical insurance but also dental insurance.  This requirement will carry over into 2019 and beyond.

4.  Other changes from the 2017 tax laws that carry over into 2019 may decrease the tax liability of a parent who pays child support and therefore increase that parent’s net monthly income on which child support calculations are based.  This may become especially important on September 1, 2019 when Texas decides, as it does every six years, whether it will reset the cap on the maximum amount of guideline child support a high wage earning parent shall pay. 

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