Texas Child Support Basics

In order to determine your potential responsibility for child support it’s necessary to first figure out how child support is actually calculated. The state of Texas calculates current child support by:

  1. Determining the amount of your income that is available for the support of your child
  2. Applying the child support guidelines found in the Texas Family Code to your net resources determined in Step 1
  3. Considering any factors that may justify an additional or lesser amount of support based on your family’s individual circumstances

The most time that you and your attorney will spend on the analysis of your case from the standpoint of child support will be figuring out what your net resources are.

Since the Texas Family Code defines what net resources are and there are prior cases in Texas where our state’s higher courts have weighed in with their opinions as well. Let’s begin our discussion from these two vantage points.

Child Support- who pays and who receives

Child Support is ordered to be paid in both divorces and child custody cases in order to help the custodial parent in support the child and in providing a sufficient standard of living in doing so. This does not mean that a child needs to be experience the same level of available resources as before a divorce, but it does mean that there is a baseline of care that needs to be met. If you are the parent who ultimately will be paying child support the amount of support is not calculated based on your current income but upon all resources available to you.

What does “net resources” actually mean?

The sources of income that the State of Texas will consider when compiling your net resources are found in Chapter 154 of the Texas Family Code. They are:

  1. wages
  2. salaries
  3. commissions,
  4. bonuses
  5. overtime
  6. tips
  7. interest
  8. dividends
  9. royalty income
  10. rental income
  11. severance pay
  12. retirement benefits
  13. pensions
  14. trust income
  15. annuities
  16. capital gains
  17. social security (excluding supp. income)
  18. unemployment
  19. disability
  20. worker’s compensation
  21. interest on notes
  22. gifts
  23. prizes
  24. spousal maintenance
  25. alimony, and
  26. self employment income.

From your review of these twenty six items you can tell that calculating most of them is pretty easy and straightforward. However, the way in which you are paid your income, the frequency with which you are paid as well as your status as an employee of a company or if you are self employed will be considered as well.

Additional sources of income that likely would be used to calculate net resources

The Texas Family Code has those twenty six sources of income that are in play when it comes to determining your net resources for the purpose of paying child support. There are a few other sources of income that are relevant to consider. They are:

Personal Injury Awards

If you receive a settlement from an insurance company it is possible that your court will rule that that award will be taken into consideration for determining your net resources

Spousal Maintenance

From the perspective of your ex spouse, is it possible to have child support increased if the amount of spousal maintenance he or she receives from you is reduced? Based on prior court decisions the answer to that question is “Yes.” If your ex spouse is able to show that your child has needs that require support above and beyond the statutory amount then this will add fuel to the fire as far as working to get the child support amount you pay increased

Inheritance

This is an issue that your court could go either way on. I have seen some courts rule that cash inheritances should be considered income for the purposes of determining child support. Other courts have said the opposite.

The issue of underemployment

We’ve all surely heard of unemployment before. This is where a person who is actively looking for a job is not able to find one and remains out of work. Underemployment is a separate issue that many people do not think much about as they head into a divorce or child custody case. Essentially a court will determine whether or not you are purposely under-employing themselves. That determination will evaluate you from the perspective of how much money you are capable of earning and how much you actually are earning currently.

The question of intentional unemployment comes into play when you are earning significantly less money that you had been previously. If a judge makes the determination that you are intentionally working less or working a different job in order to decrease your liability as far as paying child support is concerned then he or she may calculate your child support based upon the wages that you should be able to earn rather than what you are actually earning.

So, if you have worked your entire adult life and made $60,000 per year on average it will raise the judge’s eyebrow to see that once your divorce was filed your income dipped to $30,000. However, if you took a job that paid $55,000 in order to have more time with your children this is less likely to be an issue when it comes to the final determination of what your child support responsibility is.

Part Two of The Law Office of Bryan Fagan’s discussion on Child Support coming up tomorrow

There is a little more information that I would like to share with you all when it comes to child support and that will come in a second blog post that will be published tomorrow.

If you find yourself with questions on the subject of child support or anything else in the field of family law please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys are available six days a week to meet with you and answer questions free of charge.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Texas Child Support Basics, Part Two
  2. Can my Texas Driver's License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
  3. Child Support Modification in Texas (Part 1)
  4. What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
  5. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  6. Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
  7. Texas Child Support Appeals
  8. In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
  9. Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
  10. Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
  11. How to get above guideline child support.

Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Tomball, Texas Child Support Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child support, it's important to speak with one of our Tomball, TX Child Support Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our child supportlawyers in Tomball TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles child supportcases in Tomball, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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