Unless you and your spouse have resolved all issues in a divorce, your Texas divorce will more than likely be considered "contested". If your case is contested and goes to a court the Judge will be using the family code to calculate child support. The following information will help you calculate child support so you know what to expect.
Texas Family Code 154.001. SUPPORT OF CHILD.
(a) The court may order either or both parents to support a child in the manner specified by the order:
- until the child is 18 years of age or until graduation from high school, whichever occurs later;
- until the child is emancipated through marriage, through removal of the disabilities of minority by court order, or by other operation of law;
- until the death of the child; or
- if the child is disabled as defined in this chapter, for an indefinite period.
Step 1 – Determining Net Income
To calculate child support you must first calculate net income. Generally, it is helpful to refer to the tax charts for the current year put out by the Texas Attorney General. There are two charts that are put out for this purpose:
- A chart for use with employed persons and
- A chart for use with self-employed persons
When using one of these charts you will find your gross monthly income on the chart. To the right are four sets of numbers. The first three sets of numbers next to the gross income are the taxes that will be taken out of the gross monthly wages. The last number is your “net monthly income.” This is the number that is used to calculate the amount of child support you may owe.
Another thing that may adjust this number is if you provide health insurance for this child. If that is the case, then you will get a slight offset for health insurance that you pay for the child.
There is a Cap on Net Income for the Purposes of Child Support
Child support is determined in Texas based on a percentage of the paying parent’s net income up to the first $8550/month of income.
If No Net Resources
If the parent paying child support has no net resources, the court can impute income equal to minimum wage under Texas Family Code Section 154.068.
- “In the absence of evidence of a party’s resources, as defined by Section 154.062(b), the court shall presume that the party has income equal to the federal minimum wage for a 40–hour week to which the support guidelines may be applied.”
Step 2 – Calculating Child Support
Calculating child support in Texas is fairly straight forward. Once you know your net monthly income per month a percentage of it will go toward child support. This percentage is based upon how many children are before the court.
Number of Children
Example 1 – Children Living in One house hold
Assume DAD has three children. Three live with the MOM. DAD’s monthly net resources are $4,000. DAD’s child support for the child before the court is calculated as follows:
Step 1 – The percentage of DAD’s monthly net resources for the three children living in the same household is 30%, or $1,200 ($4,000 x 30%).
Sec. 154.125. APPLICATION OF GUIDELINES TO NET RESOURCES.
(a) The guidelines for the support of a child in this section are specifically designed to apply to situations in which the obligor's monthly net resources are not greater than $8,550 or the adjusted amount determined under Subsection (a-1), whichever is greater.
(a-1) The dollar amount prescribed by Subsection (a) is adjusted every six years as necessary to reflect inflation. The Title IV-D agency shall compute the adjusted amount, to take effect beginning September 1 of the year of the adjustment, based on the percentage change in the consumer price index during the 72-month period preceding March 1 of the year of the adjustment, as rounded to the nearest $50 increment. The Title IV-D agency shall publish the adjusted amount in the Texas Register before September 1 of the year in which the adjustment takes effect. For purposes of this subsection, "consumer price index" has the meaning assigned by Section 341.201, Finance Code.
Step Down Provisions
If you have more than one child, the amount of child support will change over time. For example, if you have two children, the parent paying child support will most likely be paying 25% of their net resources as child support. When the first child graduates from high school the parent would start paying 20% of their net resources as child support.
Sole Discretion of Primary Parent
Child support can be used at the discretion of primary parent. The parent who pays child support has no say on how that money is used.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring 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 Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, 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.