Each year millions of parents across the country seek judicial intervention in child support matters. Courts generally adhere to an objective process when determining the proper child support amount. Whether you are a single parent seeking child support or a non-custodial parent with questions about your current support order, our family law attorneys can help to ensure that your children receive the necessary financial support congruent with your income.
Calculation of Child Support
According to Texas law, a parent can be obligated to pay child support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. Child support can be terminated if the child is emancipated by marriage, legally emancipated or the child dies. However, if a child is physically or mentally disabled, the child may receive support indefinitely.
In Texas, child support is calculated based on child support guidelines. Guidelines set a basic minimum amount of child support, and the court can deviate from them after the consideration of numerous factors. The guidelines for child support are presumed to be reasonable and an order of support conforming to those guidelines is presumed to be in the best interest of the child.
Guidelines are applied based on net monthly income. First a determination has to be made as to the amount of gross income. Gross income includes all wages and salary, interest, dividends, royalty income, self employment income, rental income and other forms of income. From the gross amount of income, the court will then deduct social security taxes, federal income tax, state income tax (where applicable), union dues, and health insurance for the child.
According to Texas law, the child support guidelines are as follows:
- 1 child = 20% of net income
- 2 children = 25% of net income
- 3 children = 30% of net income
- 4 children = 35% of net income
- 5 children = 40% of net income
- 6 children = no less than 40% of net income
Note: if a parent's net monthly income is more than $7,500.00, the court will apply the child support guidelines to the first $7,500.00 of net monthly income. To further understand your child support obligation, please call us today to speak with our family lawyers.
Modification or Enforcement of a Current Child Support Order
If you already have a child support order in place, you may be in need of a modification of the monthly obligation. In Texas, a court may modify a child support order if it finds:
- the circumstances of the child or the person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the entry of the last order; or
- three years have passed since the order was entered or last modified and the difference in support calculated is greater by 20% or $100 of the amount of the current support order.
For instance, if the parent paying support suddenly becomes disabled and is no longer able to work, the court will likely consider reducing his support obligation to meet his current income level. Conversely, if the parent paying support experiences a sudden increase in monthly income, the court may decide to adjust the monthly support amount according to the statutory guideline stated above. If you require a modification to your child support order, our firm will help your compile the requisite financial documentation and present your case to the judge in the proceeding.
Whether you are the obligor or obligee, our family law firm can work with you to obtain a child support amount that reflects the best interests of your children. If you are having difficulty meeting your monthly support obligation or believe your child’s parent is able to pay more than the amount in the current order, our attorneys will work diligently to achieve a modification of support on your behalf.
Moreover, if you are experiencing difficulties in getting the parent obligated to pay child support, to actually pay his support in a timely manner, we can help you enforce the current child support order through motions for enforcement.
To speak with our attorney about your child support matter, contact us today.