Child support is an essential component of family law and is there to make sure the child’s needs are being met in a way that is financially fair to each party.
In Texas, if you are the non-custodial parent, then you will probably have to pay child support. Who is the non-custodial parent? The non-custodial parent is the parent who spends the least amount of time with the child or children. In most cases, this parent is typically the one ordered to provide financial support, as the custodial parent is assumed to have already done so in the daily care of the child or children.
Texas has precise guidelines that make it easy to estimate the amount of child support the non-custodial parent may be required to provide.
Guidelines to know about:
The first step to estimating your child support amount is to figure out the non-custodial parent’s monthly net income. Net income includes a variety of compensations consisting of wages, tips, bonuses, salary, commissions and even unemployment benefits, to name a few. Courts may also consider assets, prize money, alimony and even rent received from other properties to determine the total of the non-custodial parent’s net income. On the other hand, capital assets for business, foster care payments and public leave are compensations that can be left out and unconsidered for the total net income.
When the net income is determined, one must also take into account the number of children supported. The obligor, or the parent providing child support, takes their net income, subtracts money paid for social security taxes, federal taxes, and the child’s health insurance, and divides the remainder by 12 (known as net resources). Based on the number of children requiring child support, the obligor must provide a percentage of net resources for child support.
- 20% for 1 child
- 25% for 2 children
- 30% for 3 children
- 35% for 4 children
- 40% for 5+ children
Court ordered child support is also not a permanent condition. Once the court has ordered the amount of child support, the amount determined may be challenged or adjusted. The guidelines provided by Texas courts are believed to be fair, but in cases that either a custodial or non-custodial parent doesn’t see the amount fit, the court may review more factors relevant to the child or children’s needs. These factors include age, care expenses, parents’ ability to provide support, secondary income from other assets and more. A court may also review the order when either parent experiences any material or substantial changes. These changes include recent unemployment or an adjustment to the custody of the child.
For more information, review the Family Code Chapter 154. Child Support can be a complicated and tricky legality to determine. Luckily, there are plenty of resources and dedicated law firms like Bineham & Gillen to assist parents in determining child support requirements.