Child support is a key element in ensuring the comfort and stability of your child’s life in a divorce. If you’re wondering, “How much is child support in Texas?” we’re here to guide you through the process. Let’s explore the factors that influence child support calculations in the state of Texas.
Understanding the Child Support Guidelines in Texas
In Texas, the child support guidelines are primarily determined by the Texas Family Code. This system aims to make the child support process fair and equitable, considering factors like income, expenses, and the child’s needs. According to these guidelines, child support is calculated as a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s net resources.
Determining the Noncustodial Parent’s Net Resources
The first step in calculating child support in Texas is identifying the noncustodial parent’s net resources. This involves taking the total earnings of the noncustodial parent and subtracting certain statutory deductions, such as the following.
- Federal income tax
- State income tax
- Social Security taxes
- Union dues
- Expenses for the child’s health insurance and other medical support
- Non-discretionary retirement contributions
- Income includes a wide range of sources, from salary and commissions to royalties, dividends, and even gifts or prizes.
Applying the Child Support Percentage
Once the net resources have been established, a percentage is applied based on the number of children. The Texas Family Code outlines this as follows.
- One child, 20% of the Obligor’s Net Resources
- Two children, 25% of the Obligor’s Net Resources
- Three children, 30% of the Obligor’s Net Resources
- Four children, 35% of the Obligor’s Net Resources
- Five children, 40% of the Obligor’s Net Resources
- Six or more children, not less than the amount for five children
These percentages apply to the first $9,200 of the noncustodial parent’s net resources. However, if the noncustodial parent has other children to support, these percentages might be lower.
Considering the Child’s Best Interest
In some situations, the court might deviate from these guidelines to meet the child’s best interest. Factors that might lead to this include the following.
- Age and needs of the child
- Ability of the parents to contribute to the child’s support
- Financial resources available for the support of the child
- Any other reason consistent with the child’s best interest
Modifying the Child Support Amount
It’s important to note that a child support order is not set in stone. The noncustodial parent can request a review of the ordered amount every three years or when there is a substantial change in either parent’s income.
When Does Child Support End in Texas?
One of the frequent questions we encounter is, “When does child support end in Texas?” Knowing when your obligations or entitlements cease is important for planning and stability.
In Texas, the general rule is that child support ends when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens later. If the child turns 18 before graduating from high school, child support continues until high school graduation. Conversely, if the child is still in high school when they turn 18, support continues until graduation.
However, there are a few situations where child support can extend beyond this point. Here are some examples.
- Special Needs: If a child has physical or mental disabilities that prevent self-support, child support may continue indefinitely, even after the age of 18 or high school graduation. This is assessed on a case-by-case basis, considering the child’s needs and circumstances.
- Agreed Order: Sometimes, parents may agree to extend child support past the age of 18 or high school graduation. This could be the case when a child goes to college, for instance.
- Arrears: If the noncustodial parent has unpaid child support arrears, they are obligated to continue payments until the total past-due amount is fully paid off, even if the child has already turned 18 or graduated from high school.
Remember, terminating child support is not an automatic process. You must take legal steps to end child support payments officially. Failure to do so could result in continued accumulation of arrears.
So, How Much Is Child Support in Texas?
In essence, child support in Texas is determined based on the noncustodial parent’s income and the number of children they’re obliged to support. Understanding how much child support could be in Texas isn’t a straightforward process, but the Law Office of Aishah McCoy is here to help you navigate through it all.
Remember, each situation is unique, and while the state guidelines provide a general framework, the actual amount can vary. It’s crucial to get legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.
For more information or if you have any questions about child support in Texas, please feel free to contact our office. Our experienced attorneys are ready to guide you through the legal process and ensure your child’s best interests are served.