When couples divorce, both parties are expected to contribute to the welfare of any children from the marriage. Texas family courts use a formula that is designed to ensure that the needs of the children are met. Your College Station divorce lawyer can assist you with ascertaining how much this payment will be, but the following provides a basic guideline of what you can expect.
The formula used was developed as a presumptive measure of the needs of the children. The court may order an adjusted amount that reflects certain special needs of a child, such as one with a chronic health issue. That said, the formula is based on the average net monthly resources of the paying parent.
Included and Excluded Income
The court will calculate the paying parent’s income by including the following:
- All wages, tips, bonuses, commissions, and other income, including income derived from self-employment
- Royalties received
- Interest from accounts
- Income gained from rental properties
- Annuities, unemployment benefits, retirement income, etc.
The court will not include the following in the calculated income:
- Operating expenses and mortgage payments on rental properties
- Net income from another spouse in the case of remarriage
- Costs incurred for foster care
- Welfare benefits
Calculating the Net Income of the Paying Parent
By definition, net income is that which is left over after the following deductions:
- Federal income tax withholding
- Social Security tax
- Health insurance for the children
- Union dues
There is a monthly cap on the amount of child support that can be ordered. However, if the parents agree to an amount higher than this cap, needless to say they can request that the child support order be adjusted accordingly. The calculation is based on a percentage of the net income of the paying parent, adjusted to the number of children, as follows:
- 20% of net income for one child
- 25% of net income for two children
- 30% of net income for three children
- 35% of net income for four children
- 40% of net income for five children
If six or more children are involved, the family court will determine the percentage to be paid, but this amount will not be less than 40% of the net income. Also, if the child receives disability or Social Security payments, this amount will be subtracted from the total to be paid in child support.
For Help with a Child Support Matter
If you are seeking child support or an adjustment to an existing support order, work with a College Station divorce lawyer. Call Peterson Law Group today to arrange a consultation at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.