Regardless of whether parents stay together as intimate partners, both parents always have a legal obligation to provide financial support to their children. When it comes to child support in Texas, there is a great deal of information to know. In this post, we will go over the essential points of how child support amounts are determined. As we will see, the child support determination process follows rules and guidelines which are firmly established, known as the Child Support Guidelines. These are set by the Texas Legislature and ensure predictability and simplicity.
Calculating Monthly Net Resources
One important point to know about child support is that only the non-custodial parent will transfer money to the other. In Texas, the parent who has primary physical custody of the child or determines where the child lives, is typically the parent who is providing the bulk of the financial care of the child and is then provided child support to assist in meeting the child’s basic needs. This means that child support payments will always flow in one direction, and not the other. So when it comes to calculating monthly child support, it’s important to know that this calculation will only apply to one parent, rather than both.
The first step is to determine the non-custodial parent’s monthly gross income. Gross income includes nearly all forms of income – salary, wages, tips, commissions, overtime pay, and so forth. Gross income also includes other, less intuitive forms of income, such as severance pay, workers’ compensation awards, Social Security payments, unemployment checks, and so forth. The non-custodial needs to add up all income from these sources and compute a total monthly amount.
After computing monthly gross income, the non-custodial parent needs to determine the monthly net resources, which is gross income minus acceptable deductions. For child support calculation purposes, acceptable deductions include federal income taxes, health insurance premiums (associated with the child), payroll taxes, and mandatory retirement account contributions, and others as well. After subtracting the deductions from the gross income, the remaining figure is the net monthly resources.
Determining Monthly Amount
After determining a monthly net amount, the next step is to calculate a monthly payment amount. The procedure for calculating this amount is straightforward: the non-custodial parent takes the net monthly resources and then multiples that figure by a certain percentage. The exact percentage depends on the number of children. So, for instance, if the payments are for a single child, then the multiplier is 20%. The other percentages are as follows: 2 children = 25%, 3 children = 30%, 4 children = 35%, 5 children = 40%, and 6 children or more = a percentage not less than 40%, but the exact percentage may be determined by the court. Allowances against these percentages are allowed if there are other children not subject to the court’s order for whom the obligor has a duty of support.
The Texas Attorney General’s website has a monthly child support calculator here.
Contact Divorce Concierge for More Information
Readers should note that this is merely an overview. There is more to learn when it comes to child support determinations, but this is a good starting point. Divorcing parents may always agree to child support that is outside the child support guidelines, but the pros and cons of doing so should be reviewed with an experienced divorce attorney. For more information contact Divorce Concierge today.