Parents have a duty under the law to support their children. When divorce occurs, one parent is usually required to pay the other child support.
Child support in Texas is based on guidelines. The law requires the obligor to pay child support. Obligor is the Family Code term for the parent who is obligated to pay child support. Generally, this is the non-custodial parent. The obligor is required to pay child support until the child is 18 years of age or until graduation from high school, whichever occurs later.
However, if the obligor’s child is disabled, the obligor may be required to pay child support for an indefinite period. A disabled child is the child, whether institutionalized or not, that requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a mental or physical disability and will not be capable of self-support; and the disability exists, or the cause of the disability is known to exist, on or before the 18th birthday of the child.
While child support is mandatory. It cannot be used to prevent access to the child if there is none payment. The Texas family code says a court may not render an order that conditions the payment of child support on whether a managing conservator allows a possessory conservator to have possession of or access to a child.
Child support is paid from “net resources.” This this important to know. The Family Code says courts shall consider all the following in determining net resources:
(1) 100 percent of all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services (including commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses);
(2) interest, dividends, and royalty income;
(3) self-employment income;
(4) net rental income (defined as rent after deducting operating expenses and mortgage payments, but not including noncash items such as depreciation); and
(5) all other income actually being received, including severance pay, retirement benefits, pensions, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits other than supplemental security income, United States Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits other than non-service-connected disability pension benefits, as defined by 38 U.S.C. Section 101(17), unemployment benefits, disability and workers' compensation benefits, interest income from notes regardless of the source, gifts and prizes, spousal maintenance, and alimony.
Not included in Net Resources is the following:
(1) return of principal or capital;
(2) accounts receivable;
(3) benefits paid in accordance with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program or another federal public assistance program; or
(4) payments for foster care of a child.
The courts deduct the following items from resources to determine the net resources available for child support:
(1) social security taxes;
(2) federal income tax based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one personal exemption and the standard deduction;
(3) state income tax;
(4) union dues;
(6) if the obligor does not pay social security taxes, nondiscretionary retirement plan contributions
Once you know what the monthly net resources are, you apply the following guidelines:
1 child = 20% of Obligor's Net Resources
2 children = 25% of Obligor's Net Resources
3 children = 30% of Obligor's Net Resources
4 children = 35% of Obligor's Net Resources
5 children = 40% of Obligor's Net Resources
6+ children = not less than the amount for 5 children
Incidentally, the percentages above are used for net monthly income up to $8550 a month. For income above $7,500, a court may increase the amount of support depending on the income of both parents and the child’s needs.
The Texas Attorney General provides an online child support calculator that will tell you what is owed per month for child support based on income, health insurance payments and the number of children https://csapps.oag.texas.gov/monthly-child-support-calculator
The court may adjust the amount of child support paid by the obligor based on the following factors:
The court may order periodic child support payments in an amount other than that established by the guidelines if the evidence rebuts the presumption that application of the guidelines is in the best interest of the child and justifies a variance from the guidelines. In determining whether application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances, the court shall consider evidence of all relevant factors, including:
(1) the age and needs of the child;
(2) the ability of the parents to contribute to the support of the child;
(3) any financial resources available for the support of the child;
(4) the amount of time of possession of and access to a child;
(5) the amount of the obligee's net resources, including the earning potential of the obligee if the actual income of the obligee is significantly less than what the obligee could earn because the obligee is intentionally unemployed or underemployed and including an increase or decrease in the income of the obligee or income that may be attributed to the property and assets of the obligee;
(6) child care expenses incurred by either party in order to maintain gainful employment;
(7) whether either party has the managing conservatorship or actual physical custody of another child;
(8) the amount of alimony or spousal maintenance actually and currently being paid or received by a party;
(9) the expenses for a son or daughter for education beyond secondary school;
(10) whether the obligor or obligee has an automobile, housing, or other benefits furnished by his or her employer, another person, or a business entity;
(11) the amount of other deductions from the wage or salary income and from other compensation for personal services of the parties;
(12) provision for health care insurance and payment of uninsured medical expenses;
(13) special or extraordinary educational, health care, or other expenses of the parties or of the child;
(14) the cost of travel in order to exercise possession of and access to a child;
(15) positive or negative cash flow from any real and personal property and assets, including a business and investments;
(16) debts or debt service assumed by either party; and
(17) any other reason consistent with the best interest of the child, taking into consideration the circumstances of the parents.
Child support can be complex and difficult to calculate. This is especially true with high net worth clients. Hiring an experienced Board Certified Family Law attorney can give you the best chance to be successful in your child support case. If you have a child support issue, call me today for a free consultation at 956-501-6565.
CHILD SUPPORT-MCALLEN DIVORCE LAWYER