Child support funds are designed to be used for the enrichment and benefit of the child(ren) living with the primary custodial parent and are paid by the obligor (parent designated to pay child support). As of September 1, 2013, Texas state law provides that the foundation for calculation of child support cannot exceed a monthly net resource of $8,550 per month which is determined by the Texas Revised Tax Charts used by the Attorney General’s Office. Individuals that receive child support should not expect automatic increases in the financial amount and will need to file a petition with family court to have this changed with the understanding that these may not be approved unless it has been at least three years since the last modification and the payer’s income has changed to meet a new cap.
Payers can utilize the detailed information provided below in addition to the above link to help in calculating child support payments based on increased social security and federal income deductions and higher caps.
How to Calculate Your Average Net Monthly Resources: (monthly net income – deductions)
Add all monthly gross income including but not limited to the items mentioned below:
Wage, salary and other compensation for personal services (including commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses);
Interest, dividends, and royalty income;
Net rental income (amount after operating expenses and mortgage payments, not including items such as depreciation); and
All other received income such as severance, retirement, pensions, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, disability and workers’ compensation benefits, interest income from notes regardless of the source, gifts and prizes, spousal maintenance, child support, and alimony.
Do NOT include the following items in the gross monthly income calculation:
Return of principal or capital on a note not included in net resources;
Benefits paid through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);
Foster care payments; or
New spouse’s net income.
Divide annual gross income by 12 to find average monthly gross income and then:
Subtract the following items:
Social security and Federal income taxes paid for a single person (reference the above Tax Charts link for deduction amounts);
State income taxes;
Union dues; and
Child’s health insurance cost or cash medical support.
What you have remaining is your monthly net resource amount which is considered for the child support percentage shown below.
Monthly Texas Child Support Guidelines
Table 1 – Texas Child Support Guidelines: Percentages of Net Monthly Resources per Child
One Child = 20% of net resourcesTwo Children = 25% of net resourcesThree Children = 30% of net resourcesFour Children = 35% of net resourcesFive Children = 40% of net resourcesSix Children = Not less than 40% of net resources
For example, if average net monthly resources are $3000 then monthly child support under the guidelines would be:
$3000 x (0.2) = $600 for one child each month
Effect of Social Security or Disability Benefits on Texas Child Support
If the child receives monetary benefits from the payer’s old age social security or disability benefits then this amount will be subtracted from the total calculated amount of child support under the guidelines.
What happens to the amount of support I am currently paying if I have a duty to support other children too?
If you are supporting other biological or adopted children from a previous relationship or have been ordered by the court to support another child then the percentage of average net monthly resources you pay for the current child support will be decreased.
The judge may consider the following factors when deviating from the above guidelines:
Age and needs of the child;
Educational expenses beyond secondary school;
Provisions for health insurance and payment of uninsured medical expenses;
Extraordinary educational, health-care, or other expenses of the parties or the child;
Any resources available for the child’s support;
Whether either party is managing conservatorship or possession of another child;
Each party’s custodial possession of the child;
Child care expenses (as needed due to employment);
Each parent’s respective ability to contribute to the child’s support;
The paying spouse’s earning capacity if intentionally unemployed or underemployed and any deemed income;
Benefits such as a car, house, or other benefits paid by an employer, another person or a business;
Paycheck deductions other than those already factored into calculating net monthly resources;
Cash flow from any real or personal property including businesses or investments;
Debts assumed by either party; or
Any reason consistent with the child’s best interest while considering the parents’ circumstances.
The judge is not allowed to consider these factors:
A history of voluntary payment above the guideline amount;
The sex of the paying spouse, the recipient spouse, or the child; or
The marital status of the child’s parents.
I appear regularly in the Harris County attorney general and district courts on child support issues.