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Child Support

Your case is different from any other case. As you search the web and talk to friends for answers, you must remember that no information you gather from any source can be taken as a guarantee of the outcome in your situation. Without consulting with the attorney of your choice, it is not possible to give you answers to your particular set of circumstances. Statements made in documents published on this website are intended to give you an overview of the current law in the State of Texas in the area of family law regarding divorce, property and children. These statements are not intended as legal advice. It is not ethical for an attorney to give legal advice without full knowledge of all facts regarding the individual circumstances of your case.

Nevertheless, the Texas legislature has provided “guidelines” for the support of children. As a practical matter, the guidelines will ordinarily be followed by the court in which your divorce is heard.

References in the statute regarding child support are to the “obligor” (person paying child support) and “obligee” (person receiving child support). Whether you are an obligor or an obligee, the guideline for child support in Texas is based upon the number of children being supported in your order, the number of additional children for whom the obligor has a support obligation, and the income of the obligor.

If the obligor has no obligation to support any children other than the children in the court proceeding involved (called the children “before the court”), child support will be set based upon the amount of “net resources” received by the obligor. Based on monthly income, the statutes indicate that, of the first $6,000.00 in “net resources”; the obligor will pay the following percentages:

1 child 20% of “net resources” up to maximum “net resources” of $7,500=$1,500 support
2 children 25% of “net resources” up to maximum “net resources” of $7,500=$1,875 support
3 children 30% of “net resources” up to maximum “net resources” of $7,500=$2,250 support
4 or more 35% of “net resources” up to maximum “net resources” of $7,500=$2,625 support

If there are additional children for whom the obligor has a duty to support, the percentages change as follows:

Number of other children for whom the obligor has a duty of support Number of children before the court
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
0 20.00 25.00 30.00 35.00 40.00 40.00 40.00
1 17.50 22.50 27.38 32.20 37.33 37.71 38.00
2 16.00 20.63 25.20 30.33 35.43 36.00 36.44
3 14.75 19.00 24.00 29.00 34.00 34.67 35.20
4 13.60 18.33 23.14 28.00 32.89 33.60 34.18
5 13.33 17.86 22.50 27.22 32.00 32.73 33.33
6 13.14 17.50 22.00 26.60 31.27 32.00 32.62
7 13.00 17.22 21.60 26.09 30.67 31.38 32.00

Child support guidelines base their percentages on “net resources.” Net resources include more than just salary but also includes money earned in the form of commissions, overtime pay, and can also include other unearned income such as trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, and gifts.

Deducted from gross “resources” are any amounts paid for social security and medicare taxes, federal income taxes (based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one personal exemption and the standard deduction), state income tax, union dues, and any expenses that the obligor pays for the children’s health insurance. These amounts are deducted from an obligor’s resources to determine net resources for applying the child support guidelines. Elective deductions such as 401K, retirement savings or other such sums withheld from the obligor’s pay are not deducted in calculating “net resources”.

If an obligor takes home more than $7,500.00, any child support paid above the percentages listed above can only be paid if the proven needs of the child or children exceed the child support which is listed. You must discuss with your attorney what constitute “needs” and whether your children’s situation would require a deviation from the guidelines.

For the average employed obligor who does not have a special needs child, the child support is easily calculated by multiplying the applicable percentage by “net resources”. If the obligor is self employed, many factors must be discussed with your attorney to calculate what income the State of Texas would determine to be the income of the obligor. If the child or children have special needs, those special needs may affect the child support.

No matter how high the net resources of the obligor may be, without proving that the cost of the children’s needs exceed the percentages listed above of the first $7,500.00 in income of the obligor, the child support will not exceed the amounts listed above, except by agreement of the parties.

The variations possible for more support to be ordered than the amount calculated by using the percentages listed, or less support to be ordered than the amount calculated by using the percentages listed, are much too extensive to be discussed in written form. Make an appointment with a specialist in family law to find out what your options are.