One of the principal concerns of my clients who are parents seeking divorce is “how much will child support be”. Obviously, this is a key issue for both the custodial parent receiving the support, and the parent paying the support. While ultimately, the amount of child support a parent will pay will be determined by the circumstances of the case, and the judge, there are guidelines provided by the State of Texas, which we have provided below. Please remember these are indeed guidelines and can be significantly influenced by your circumstances, and the judge hearing your case.
Texas law provides a mathematical formula to calculate the amount a noncustodial parent will owe in child support. The noncustodial parent will be obligated to pay until the child is 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever is later. Payments are calculated as a percentage of the net income of the non-custodial parent’s income. The percentage varies depending on the number of children and the number of other children that parent is supporting, such as children from a previous marriage.
Net income includes 100% of all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services (including commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses); interest, dividends, and royalty income; and several other sources as well.
These items can be deducted: social security taxes; federal income tax state income tax; union dues; and expenses for health insurance coverage for the child for whom support is paid.
Texas has established a formula to calculate what amount a non-custodial parent should pay. If a non-custodial parent’s net monthly income is less than $6,000, Texas law has established the following guidelines for child support payments. The amount withheld is based on the net income each month.
• 20 % for one child
• 25 % for two children
• 30 % for three children
• 35 % for four children
• 40 % for five children
• Not less than 40 % for six children
Special rules apply in cases of split or joint placement or multiple children in different households. If a court believes the NCP is not earning within expectations, the child support amount may be based on earning potential. This is the income that you could potentially earn.
In the event there are other children, you are obligated to support either by other court orders or because they live in your home, you can receive a small deduction in the percentages above. For instance, if you support one additional child under another court order, child support will be 17.5% of the net resources rather than 20%.