Couples with children, who are no longer together, are legally obligated to provide financial support for their children.The state of Texas determines Child Support based on certain factors to help parents figure out what needs to be paid. Child Support in Texas is under the Texas State Attorney General office.
If you are in Texas and getting a divorce or unmarried but with children and are using a family law attorney to help you establish paternity, custody, and child support, your lawyer should be able to use the formula to calculate your child support payments.
Child support is often a very complex and sensitive matter, and there is a lot of potential for legal complications. From an ex not paying child support to pushing to modify the amount of child support you’ll give every month, it is critical to have an experienced and compassionate attorney like Wendy Hart at your side.
First the formula identifies income sources for each parent. Many people have paycheck from a job and that is an easily identifiable source of income. But there are other income sources that are also considered “income” for the purpose of calculating child support, including:
• Income from salary and wages, including tips, overtime, bonuses, and commissions
• Business and self-employment income
• Retirement benefits, including pension payouts and Social Security payments
• Veterans benefits
• Disability, unemployment, severance pay, and worker’s compensation
• Income from royalties, dividends, and interest
• Annuities, capital gains, and trust income
• Net rental income
• Prizes, gifts, and lawsuit settlements
• Alimony and child support paid for children from another marriage
Income that does not count toward child support are:
• Foster care child payments
• Benefits from federal assistance programs
• Resources or income of a new spouse
• Accounts receivable
• Returns from capital or principal
It is worth noting that a parent who deliberately takes a lower-paying job than they are capable of or stay unemployed to avoid child support can be ordered to still pay child support based on their earning potential and their history of earnings. The court may also order the parent to get a job or a better paying job.
Calculating Child Support
Once the parent’s income sources are identified, the court subtracts the following to come up with a net income:
• Federal taxes (Texas has no state income tax)
• Social Security taxes or non-discretionary retirement plan contributions
• Union dues
• Total amount the parent spends on health and dental insurance and uninsured medical expenses for the child or children
That amount is divided by 12 to determine monthly net income of each parent, and then Texas will use state guidelines. For a parent with a net monthly income of $9,200 or less, child support is generally calculated as:
• 1 child: 20% of net income
• 2 children: 25% of net income
• 3 children: 30% of net income
• 4 children: 35% of net income
• 5+ children: 40% of net income
There are also guidelines for parents with lower incomes (less than $1,000 per month). These guidelines reduce the percentage by 5%.
These guidelines allow family law attorneys and divorce attorneys and parents understand how Texas determis child support amounts required of each parent. In some cases one parent will contribute payments to the custodial parent. In other cases when both parents have equal income neither pays the other a child support paymetn. However it works out the key purpose is to provide financial support for your children, as its in the best interest of the child. While most decisions will go by the guidelines, there is the ability to deviate and award more support if the child has additional needs, such as special medical care.
The Texas State Attorney General Office’s website has an online child support calculator to help estimate what a parent might pay.
Get Help with Child Support from a Texas Family Law Attorney
Wendy L. Hart is an experienced and top-rated Family Law and Divorce attorney serving families throughout Tarrant, Johnson, and Ellis Counties including Arlington, Mansfield, and Fort Worth. Our firm represent both men and women in family law matters and provides services for Divorce, Paternity, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation, and Adoption.
When facing a family law matter, don’t wait. Contact The Law Office of Wendy L. Hart today at (817) 842-2336 or use our online contact form to send a message. We look forward to helping you.