Like most states, Texas publishes guidelines that help determine how much child support a non-custodial parent owes the possessory parent. Unfortunately, many parents—those who pay support and those who receive it—often feel dissatisfied with the arrangement.

Parents calculating child support in The Colony often begin with this formula to get an estimate of the amount needed. In most cases, the law presumes this computed sum is the amount necessary to serve the child’s best interests. Therefore, parents planning to deviate from the formula should consult a local child support attorney as soon as possible.

Child Support Basics

Both parents must contribute to a child’s basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, education, and activities. The law strives to ensure that the parents’ separation will not radically change a child’s customary standard of living.

The possessory parent uses their resources to provide the child with a home, food, transportation, pocket money, and other needs. The co-parent contributes to these expenses through child support payments. Child support is an obligation toward the child, not toward the co-parent.

Parents owe financial support to their children until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. Support could end earlier if the child emancipates themselves, marries, or joins the military. In some cases, parents agree to continue supporting a child who pursues higher education. If a child is disabled and cannot support themselves, the child support obligation could be indefinite. An experienced lawyer in The Colony could help couples calculate child support payments or devise permanent support arrangements.

Using the Formula to Calculate Child Support Payments

As an attorney can further explain, the state’s formula calculates child support based on a percentage of a parent’s net resources. The amount is 20 percent for a single child, which goes up by five percent for each additional child. However, a parent with more than five children is not required to pay more than 40 percent of their net resources toward child support. A court could adjust the formulated amount if the paying parent has possession of the children most of the time, has substantial childcare costs, or for other reasons that support the children’s best interests.

Texas Family Code §154.062 lists the items of income that count toward a parent’s net resources. According to the statute, net resources include the following:

  • All a parent’s income, including wages, bonuses, commissions, tips, and overtime
  • Net income from rental properties
  • Dividends, interest, and royalties
  • Self-employment income
  • All other money received, such as trust income, social security benefits, retirement benefits, annuities, pensions, capital gains, Workers’ Compensation benefits, gifts, prizes, and spousal maintenance

After totaling their income, a parent would deduct their tax obligations, union dues, and the amount they spend on the child’s health, dental, or vision insurance. The resulting number is their net resources.

The state formula assumes that a paying parent’s net resources are no more than $9200 per month (this amount changes periodically to account for inflation). If a parent’s net resources exceed that amount, a court could assess a higher child support payment, up to 100 percent of a child’s actual needs. In this situation, it is wise to enlist the guidance of a seasoned attorney that has experience with calculating child support in The Colony.

Common Issues Involving Child Support

Sometimes, parents intentionally earn less to limit their child support payments. If a parent is suspected of doing this or makes significantly less money than their education and work history indicate they could, a court could base a child support payment on what the parent could earn rather than the amount they actually do earn.

Similarly, parents sometimes hide income so that it cannot count toward their child support obligation. Doing so could be considered a fraud on the court and a betrayal of the child. Courts in The Colony take attempts to fraudulently avoid child support very seriously.

Sometimes, parents may withhold child support if they have a disagreement with a co-parent. Similarly, a co-parent might limit access to a child if support payments are not current. Both actions are inappropriate. The obligation to support a child exists regardless of visitation arrangements, and the child’s right to spend time with both parents exists regardless of financial matters. Parents who cannot agree on child support terms or calculations should consult an attorney in The Colony.

An Attorney Could Help with Calculating Child Support in The Colony

Determining child support can be a highly complex and contentious issue for separated parents. If you and your co-parent are arguing about child support, it is vital that you contact an experienced local attorney.

A lawyer from our firm could help you and your co-parent reach an agreement that works for you, complies with the law, and serves your child’s best interests. Call us today for help with calculating child support in The Colony.

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Meet Matt Towson
Meet Matt Towson
Meet Matt Towson