In the State of Texas child support is calculated based on the Texas Family Code guidelines. This is done by taking the paying parent’s net monthly income multiplied by the statutory percentage, which varies depending on how many children are included in the support order. For example 1 child=20% of the obligor’s net monthly income, 2 children=25%, 3 children=30%, 4 children=35%, and 5 children=40%. For 6 or more children, the amount must be at least equal as that for 5 children. These percentages are applied to the first $8,500.00 of the paying parent’s net monthly income. In a small amount of circumstances the court can award child support above the guidelines (child with special needs is common example), however this amount cannot be higher than the proven needs of the child.
Calculating the correct amount of the support first requires that you find the paying parent’s annual gross income. Income includes salary, commissions, overtime pay, bonuses, tips, interest, rental income, dividends, trust income, retirement income, disability income, and any other source of income they may have. SSI cannot be included as income, however SSDI can be included. Once you arrive at the paying parent’s yearly gross income then you will subtract the paying parent’s yearly social security taxes, federal income tax taken out of their pay, union dues, and any health insurance or medical related expenses attributable to the children the court has ordered that parent to pay. Once you have done this you will get that parent’s yearly net income, which you divide by 12 to get their net monthly income. Finally you take this net monthly income and multiply it by the percentage above depending on how many children are in the support order.
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Although the guidelines are followed in most cases it is helpful to have an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the process. Especially when dealing with a parent who is not forthcoming about all their sources of income, any modifications for an increase or decrease of a prior support order, retroactive child support, enforcement of child support order and cases involving children with special needs. Contact us today for a free consultation so we can assist with your child support needs.