Calculate Child Support using the Statutory Guidelines
Accurately calculating child support can be a prickly issue in divorce cases. Usually, the obligor (the person paying child support) wants to pay the least amount possible while the obligee wants as much as possible. Calculating child support payments can become rather complicated, especially in this era of blended families. Our Fort Worth Family Law Attorneys are experienced in calculating child support and getting the best results in your Tarrant County family law matters.
In Texas, child support is generally determined according to statutory guidelines. Section 154.129 of the Texas Family Code sets out the following chart to determine child support obligations:
MULTIPLE FAMILY ADJUSTED GUIDELINES (% OF NET RESOURCES)
Number of other children for whom the obligor has a duty of support
Number of Children Before the Court
Child support calculated under this chart is presumed to be reasonable and “in the best interest of the child.”
The percentages in the chart will be applied to the “net resources” of the noncustodial parent (the “obligor”). Net resources include salaries, wages, bonuses, rental income, royalties, investment income and most other types of cash actually received (including unemployment benefits and child support owed to the obligor). In most cases, net resources can be determined in part by reviewing pay stubs and/or income tax returns. Texas Family Code 154.062 provides a more comprehensive, but still incomplete, list of “resources.”
However, the “in-flow” presents only one side of the net resources calculation. Social security taxes, federal and state income taxes, and health insurance costs for that child will generally be deducted from a paycheck and will thus reduce child support obligations. Specific deductions are listed in Texas Family Code Section 154.062(d). These deductions are mandatory when calculating net resources: social security taxes; federal income tax based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one personal exemption and the standard deduction; state income tax; union dues; and expenses for health insurance coverage for the obligor’s child. It is easy to see how something as seemingly simple as calculating your net monthly resources can actually be quite difficult. Thus, it is important to keep track of this financial information in order to assist your attorney in making these calculations.
Child Support Calculation Formulas
Use the formulas below to estimate the approximate amount of child support owed depending on whether you are paid monthly, twice per month, every two weeks, or weekly.
Paid Monthly: Net Monthly Resources × Percentage from Table = Monthly Obligation
Paid Twice per Month: Net Monthly Resources × Percentage from Table = Monthly Obligation
Monthly Obligation ÷ 2 = Obligation Twice Per Month
Paid Every Two Weeks: Net Monthly Resources × Percentage from Table = Monthly Obligation
(Monthly Obligation × 12) ÷ 26 = Obligation Every Two Weeks
Paid Weekly: Net Monthly Resources × Percentage from Table = Monthly Obligation
(Monthly Obligation × 12) ÷ 52 = Obligation Every Week
Calculating the amount of child support you owe seems overwhelming, but gaining a better understanding of the process used to determine the amount owed can provide you with some peace of mind. Because no two families are alike, you should always contact an attorney before committing to any set amount of child support. If you have a question regarding your Texas child support or potential Texas child support, call the Fort Worth Family Law attorneys at Gardner & Smith.