Sometimes I get a call from someone who has an issue with the amount of child support they are paying or the amount that they may have to pay in the future. In Texas there is something known as guideline child support and it is presumed by the Texas legislature to be in the child's or children's best interest. A court can vary from these guidelines in certain circumstances but those are rare. This Texas guideline child support is based on a formula which is the average net monthly resources of the parent obligated to pay multiplied by a percentage that is established by the Texas legislature for a particular number of children. One child is generally 20% and you add five percent for each child after that up to not less than 40% for six children. For example, if an obligor parent's average net monthly resources is $2000.00, then the Texas guideline child support obligation would be $500.00 per month for two children which is 25% of $2000.00. If you have more than one child then as child support ends for each child there will be a step down. For example, if you have two children, like in the above example, and one of them reaches the age of 18, then your child support can be decreased from 25% to 20%. That would mean that your obligation would be $400.00 for the remaining child who is under 18. There will almost certainly be steps that need to be taken to make this step down actually happen and you should consult an experienced Houston or Texas family lawyer who deals with child support issues to help you figure out exactly what needs to be done in your specific case. Do not assume that the step down will just happen. You should be mindful that as of September 1, 2019, child support in Texas will be calculated on the first $9200.00 per month of the paying parent's income and there are caps of child support which are:
1 child: $1840.00; 2 children: $2300.00; 3 children: $2760.00; 4 children: $3220.00; and 5 children: $3680.00. You should know these limits because some parents unwittingly end up paying more than they should. There is a child support calculator that is available through the Texas Attorney General but it is possible to get a good idea of what your payment will be by following the next steps.
First: Figure out what your annual gross income is. Gross income includes things such as wage and salary income and other compensation for services such as overtime, commissions, tips, and bonuses, all interest, dividends, and royalty income, self-employment income, net rental income, all other income received such as pensions, retirement pay, severance pay, income from a trust, capital gains, annuities, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, disability and workers' compensation benefits, interest from notes, spousal maintenance, gifts, prizes, child support, and alimony. Gross income does not include income by a new spouse, TANF benefits, payments received as a result of providing foster care, accounts receivable, or a return of principal or capital on a note that is not included in net resources.
Second: Figure out what your average gross monthly income is. This part is easy, you take your annual gross income and divide that by 12 which provides your monthly gross income.
Third: Subtract certain things from your monthly gross income to provide you with the amount of your average net monthly resources. The items you subtract are things such as federal income taxes paid, state income taxes, union dues, monies paid for child or children's health and or dental insurance, and social security taxes. Note: the amount of net resources you have can be calculated using what is known as a Texas child support chart and you find your gross income on the chart and it provides you with your average net monthly resources. Be careful of which chart you use because there is one for self-employed people and one for employed people.
Fourth: Figure out what your monthly child support obligation will be. To do this you will apply the following percentages to your average monthly net resources: One child is 20%, two is 25%, three is 30%, four is 35%, and five is 40%, six is not less than 40%.
If your income is more than $9200.00 then the amount of child support can be more if the child has proven needs that are more than the guidelines provide. A court can order the other parent to pay the difference or a court can order both parents to pay the difference. If a child receives social security or disability benefits from the obligor spouse's old age social security or disability benefits then the amount received are subtracted from the amount of guideline child support. It is also important to recognize that if you have a legal obligation to support a child that is not included in the case you are litigating then the percentages of child support applied will be lower.
This post is general in nature and your specific case should be carefully analyzed by an experienced Houston or Texas family lawyer. If you are dealing with a child support issue, then you should choose qualified counsel to guide you through the process. A mistake at calculating child support can be very costly and long lasting. You could end up overpaying because of a very minor mistake. There have even been cases where a parent owes thousands and thousands of dollars in child support many years after the child or children in question have aged out. Back child support will potentially follow you for the rest of your life and it accrues interest which makes it all the more difficult. You should take extreme care in making sure that the amount of child support that you pay is what you should be paying so as to avoid falling into this hole because you are unable to make the payments. Call the Law Office of Chad Zubi today to discuss your options.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein in intended for informational purposes only and should not be as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.