Calculation of child support obligations in Texas

As a parent faces the determination of child support to be paid to an ex-spouse, there may be concerns about how an amount is determined. Texas law provides for amounts to be computed based on a formula and the parent's net income. The percentage of that net income to be paid will vary based on issues such as the number of children to be supported and the need to support other children from different marriages.

Net income considered in computing child support includes all wages and salaries as well as extra payments such as commissions or tips. This also includes proceeds gained through self-employment, interest, dividends, rental income exceeding the cost of maintaining a rented home, and income related to retirement or other benefits. Funds that are excluded include a new spouse's income, accounts receivable, return of capital, and benefits that have been paid by welfare. Health insurance payments on behalf of a supported child are deducted prior to computation of child support payments. Similarly, Social Security tax and state and federal income taxes are deducted. Union dues can also be deducted.

Texas assesses a minimum of 20 percent of the net income for support of one child, increasing in increments of 5 percent for each additional child up to 40 percent for five or more children. These standards typically apply when the net income per month is no more than $7,500. However, adjustments may be made if support orders exist for other children. It is important for a support-owing parent to make prompt contact with the court if a life circumstance occurs that might prevent or affect one's ability to pay.

A parent who has paid in excess of ordered support may worry that the court will require such extra payments in the future. While Texas law does not provide for such a requirement, a parent facing a change in financial circumstances may want to work with a lawyer in seeking a modification.

Source: Legal Aid of NothWest Texas, "Child support Calculations ", October 07, 2014

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