How Do You Calculate Child Support in Texas?
CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES
The Texas Family Code lays out "guidelines" to help judges in determining child support. The guidelines are presumed to be in the best interest of the child, which is what a judge is supposed to base child support off of. There are certain factors that a judge can use to set child support in an amount that is different than the guidelines. Additionally, judges can approve agreements of parties that are not exactly the same as the guidelines, and they often do.
WHAT IS USED TO DETERMINE A CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION?
Texas is unique in the way that it calculates child support. Support in the family code is supposed to be based only on the person who will be paying child support's income. The person who is receiving child support's income is not included in this calculation. This calculation is done based on how many children the person paying child support has that are under 18. Basically, a certain percentage of a person's income is supposed to be paid towards child support.
Income is defined in the family code and it is basically any money that a person earns throughout the year. This includes bonuses, overtime, and other income that may not be guaranteed every year or the same every year. One easy way to calculate child support in Texas is to use the child support calculator on the Attorney General's website: https://csapps.oag.texas.gov/monthly-child-support-calculator.
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF INCOME GOES TO CHILD SUPPORT?
The image above provides a quick reference of what percentages of income a person is supposed to pay under the family code guidelines. If a person has one child, 20 percent of their income is the amount the family code provides should be paid towards child support. These percentages are only applied to the person paying child support's first $8,550.00 of income per month. For example, a person with one child who makes more than $8,550.00 per month should only pay $1,710.00 in child support if the judge follows the guidelines.
Child support is not supposed to be based on possession or access to a child. Even if someone has no court ordered possession or access of a child they still may be ordered to pay guideline child support. Child support is also supposed to be gender-neutral, there is nothing in the family code that says a mother or a father should be the person paying child support. In some cases, a person may be required to pay medical support in addition to the child support guideline amount described above.
There is no way one blog post could cover all of the things that may come up in determining a child support obligation. Every family law case is unique. If you have any questions about child support in Williamson County, Bell County, or Travis County, call the Law Office of Margaret McCroan today and set up a time for a free phone consultation.