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Calculating child support

Texas parents dealing with child support issues may wonder about how the amount of support is to be determined. The state's law is straightforward, making use of a mathematical formula in computing the amount of support owed by a non-custodial parent. The financial obligation is based on the parent's net income, and the percentage owed depends on how many children are to be supported.

Net income for the parent who owes support is based on all wages and salary proceeds, including tips, commissions, and bonuses. Self-employment income is also considered as net income. Interest, royalties, and dividends also contribute to the total net income. Additionally, rental income, severance pay, unemployment benefits, retirement income, and similar resources are considered to be part of the equation. A new spouse's income is not considered, nor are accounts receivable. Taxes, union dues, health insurance for a supported child, and other state or federal obligations may be deducted to determine the net income.

If a parent's net income is below $7,500 per month, a base of 20 percent in child support is assessed for one child. This increases by 5 percent per child up to 40 percent monthly to support five children. A minimum of 40 percent of the net income is owed for six or more children. While these amounts serve as guidelines, modifications may be made in cases involving children in different households. In some cases, support orders may be made based on earning potential, particularly if a parent is deemed not to be earning according to expectations.

If a parent who owes support faces extreme circumstances such as the loss of a job or a disability that impedes the ability to work, it is important to communicate with the court promptly. A modification of the support order may require the assistance of an attorney in filing the necessary petition.

Source: Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, "Child Support Calculations ", September 15, 2014

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