The Custodial Parent, or the Primary Joint Managing Conservator, most often has the right to receive child support on behalf of the child. The amount of support owed by the Possessory Conservator or non-custodial parent is based upon:
If there is only one child of the marriage and no children outside of the marriage, child support will be set at 20% of the non-custodial parent’s net resources minus the FICA, Social Security, and Medicare. If there are two children, the child support will be set at 25% of the net resources. If there are three children, child support will be set at 30% of the net resources, and it will increase at 5% increments thereafter. No parent may be required to pay more than 50% of his or her net earnings to fulfill all of his or her child support obligations. These percentages are adjusted slightly when the non-custodial parent has other children from outside the marriage for whom the non-custodial parent must also pay child support. Other factors such as whether the non-custodial parent is intentionally unemployed or underemployed will also be considered by the court.
CHILD SUPPORT IN TEXAS IS CALCULATED BY MULIPLYING PAYING PARENT’S RESOURCES X PERCENTAGE SET IN GUIDELINES.
Texas, like every other state, has its own child support guidelines that govern how much child support a noncustodial parent must pay. In Texas, child support is calculated by multiplying the paying parent’s net resources by a percentage that is set in the guidelines.
A calculation of net resources begins with the parent’s gross income and includes salary, commissions, overtime pay, tips, bonuses, interest, dividends, rental income, royalty income, trust income, retirement income, disability income, and any other source of funds. Net resources also includes prizes, gifts, and alimony from a previous marriage.
It is best to calculate gross income as an annual figure. Once the figure for gross income is set, subtract the following:
1. Social Security taxes or, if the paying parent doesn’t pay Social Security taxes, any mandatory retirement plan contributions
2. Federal income tax (based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one exemption)
3. Union dues
4. Health insurance premiums and other medical expenses for the child if the court ordered the paying parent to pay these expenses.
The resulting figure is the parent’s annual net resources! Divide the net resources by 12 to establish monthly net resources.
Once you’ve established the noncustodial parent’s net monthly resources, multiply that number by a percentage that’s determined by how many children the paying parent is supporting.
1 child = x the monthly net resources by 20%
2 children = x the monthly net resources by 25%
3 children = x the monthly net resources by 30%
4 children = x the monthly net resources by 35%
5 children = x the monthly net resources by 40%
For 6 or more children, the amount must be at least the same as for five children.
Support calculation for a parent with $2,000 net monthly resources and two children:
$2,000 (net monthly resources) x .25 (25% for two children) = $500 per month in monthly child support
If a paying parent’s net resources is greater than $7,500 per month, the child support calculation applies only to the first $7,500. After that, the court may order additional support if the circumstances warrant a higher payment—but the additional amount can be no greater than “the proven needs of the child.”
The law states the child support guidelines are presumed to result in an amount of support that is “appropriate and fair.” A parent who believes that guideline support is too high or too low can ask the court to make an adjustment. There is a list of factors that the judge can consider in Texas Family Code Section 154.123.
A parent who has an obligation to support multiple children living in different households will:
A noncustodial parent is required to pay child support under the following conditions:
Child support can also end if the child marries or enlists in the military or becomes legally emancipated.
Within a divorce settlement, the paying parent may agree to continue supporting a child through college, or the parents can agree to share college expenses.
WHAT IS A WITHHOLDING ORDER (IWO)?
Every child support order in Texas contains an income withholding order (IWO) that requires the paying parent’s employer to withhold the child support amount from the paying parent’s paycheck. The payment is sent to the state child support enforcement agency or a local registry, and is then sent to the other parent. Self-employed parents or those who work on commission aren’t subject to income withholding orders and must pay support directly to the state child support enforcement agency or local registry. Parents can also agree to direct payments.
Payments that go through an agency or registry equate to a clear record of payments and are helpful in an action for enforcement.
ARE YOU BEING DENIED VISTIATION? DO YOU KNOW YOUR OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS?
Texas law states that even if the other parent is denying you visitation, you are still required to pay your support. Consequently, you can still be held in contempt for failure to pay. If you are being denied access to your children, you should pursue an enforcement action against the parent denying you these visitation rights.