Child support is one of the most asked about topics both by current clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC as well as prospective clients of our office. This is understandable as all parents are concerned with the well being and support of their children. The means by which child support is actually calculated and the component parts of the equation will be the topic of this blog post.
A three-step process for determining a child support obligation
If you expect to be the parent with the responsibility to pay child support this section should be of great interest to you. In order to calculate child support in Texas, a court will:
- Have to figure out what your net resources are
- Then take the appropriate percentage based on the number of children you are responsible (while subtracting a corresponding percentage in regard to any other children not before the court that you are responsible for)
- Look for extenuating circumstances that may justify either increasing or decreasing the statutory percentage utilized to arrive at your monthly child support obligation.
From my experience, attorneys for both you and your spouse will spend a great deal of time attempting to figure out exactly what your income is so that your net resources can be determined.
Why is child support necessary anyway?
Your child support obligation does not reflect your ability to pay just based on your income. Rather, the child support calculation takes into consideration resources from multiple places- not just your paycheck.
At the end of the day, we are talking about the well being of your child. Child support is meant to enhance the ability of your soon to be ex-spouse to provide the basic necessities for your child.
Head to the Texas Family Code to determine what net resources actually means
The Texas Family Code contains all of the income sources and other financial assets that can be utilized to calculate your net resources. Your salary/wages start off the list while fairly straightforward and predictable items like bonuses, tips, and overtime pay also make an appearance.
Bigger ticket items like retirement benefits, capital gains and rental income from any property that you own are also subject to add to your potential child support obligation.
If you are a person who is not able to work due to an injury that you suffered on the job then you should be aware that unemployment benefits, disability pay and worker’s compensation payments are all fair game to be considered income for the purposes of calculating child support.
Income that is not actually income- at least not yet- can also count towards your net resources
If you own an asset that is not currently earning you any income (a piece of land, a home, a stock or other investment fund) but has the potential to at a future date the court may imply an income upon that asset.
On the other hand, if you do have an asset that is currently earning you income it is not wise to purposefully do something to decrease the amount of income that is being earned by that asset. I have seen courts go back and assign a value or income to that asset more in line with what the expected earnings would be.
Child Support based on the guidelines set forth by the Family Code are in your child’s best interests- until they’re not
A judge has it in their discretion to award a greater or lesser amount of child support based upon the circumstances that your family finds itself in. If you believe that your child should receive a higher than guidelines amount of child support then the burden is on you to prove that this is the case.
Your court will primarily be concerned with what is in the best interest of your child but will also consider the income of your spouse when making any sort of consideration to deviate from the guidelines amount for support. The odds are good that if your spouse earns less than $8,550 per month (the most that a judge is able to consider when calculating net resources) then a higher than statutory award will not be possible.
Evidence is the key to being able to win the day when it comes to calculating child support in Texas
If you haven’t been able to tell from the previous sections of this blog post, there are strong presumptions that exist as far as calculating child support in a standard, methodical manner.
Deviating from what the Texas Family Code states occurs very rarely. The reason for that is a fair amount of evidence needs to be presented to a court in order to sway your judge to alter this arrangement and take additional sums of money or sources of income/resources into consideration.
If you are the parent who will foot the bill for child support be prepared to produce evidence showing exactly what your sources of income are. Remember- the assets that are in play as far as a net resources calculation is concerned are more than meets the eye. Finally, the needs of your child are primary and a court will act in your child’s best interest.
If your child requires medical care above and beyond that of a similarly aged child or any other factor that bumps up his or her costs-profile then a higher than statutory percentage may be applied to your net resources in order to calculate support.
Questions regarding child support calculation? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC today
If you have any other questions on calculating child support, understanding the elements of net resources or any other question in family law please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. A free of charge consultation is available six days a week with one of our licensed family law attorneys. Our office represents clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to speak to you about your family’s situation.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Texas Child Support Basics
- Texas Child Support Basics, Part Two
- Can my Texas Driver's License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
- Child Support Modification in Texas (Part 1)
- What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
- Texas Child Support Appeals
- In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
- Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
- How to get above guideline child support.
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Tomball, Texas Child Support Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC 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, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles child support cases 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.