When divorcing with children, it’s important you keep your kids’ best interests in mind. This includes considering the costs of housing, food and how you as parents will share the responsibility of caring for your children.
The Various Details That Affect Child Support
In addition to income, many other factors can affect the determination of child support, including children with special medical needs, percentage of time spent living with each parent, the cost of travel should a parent have to go long distances for access to the child, child care expenses, private-school tuition, legal responsibility for additional children and more.
While the courts will make the final child support amount determination, based on Texas guidelines and other mitigating factors, there is a formula you can use to estimate generally the amount that will be assigned in your unique family situation
Determine Gross Income
Begin by calculating annual gross income. This includes factoring in the following financial details:
- All wages, salary, commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses
- All interest, dividends and royalty payments
- All self-employment income
- Net rental income (which is calculated by deducting any operating expenses or mortgage payments from the rent received)
- Any other income received such as alimony, child support, retirement benefits, pension payments, trust income, social security, unemployment, disability and workers’ compensation benefits
Add all income together to determine annual gross income. Divide this number by 12 to establish average monthly gross income.
Factor Net Income
Once you’ve established the average monthly gross income, you should subtract any of the following from that total to arrive at the average monthly net income:
- Social Security taxes, state income taxes, and federal income taxes paid
- Union dues
- The cost of child’s health insurance premiums or cash contributions made for medical treatments
Texas Child Support Guidelines
If the average monthly net income is less than $8,550, child support is determined as a percentage of that income. These percentages are impacted by the number of children for whom child support must be paid.
- One child 20%
- Two children 25%
- Three children 30%
- Four children 35%
- Five children 40%
- Six children Not less than 40%
Can Child Support Be Modified?
Sometimes circumstances such as unemployment will drastically affect a parent’s ability to meet their child support obligation. Other times, a significant increase in salary may expand a parent’s ability to pay more support. In either circumstance, a court hearing or child support review process must take place to modify a child support obligation.
The Attorney General of Texas lists circumstances that warrant a child support modification:
- A child support order that was established or modified three or more years prior in which the monthly child support amount “differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would be awarded according to child support guidelines.”
- “A material and substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the child support order was set.”
For the non-custodial parent paying child support, changed circumstances can include a change in income or additional children to legally support. A change in medical insurance coverage or living arrangements can also justify a modification.
Discuss Your Specific Child Support Obligations With a Lawyer
It’s important to discuss your situation with a qualified family law attorney who can help you understand the complexities of child support laws in Texas. Financial stress and uncertainty are major sources of stress and can impact the sense of security for parents, as well as children.
Get answers and secure a child support arrangement that best serves all people involved. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.