How Much is the Average Child Support Payment in Texas?
Going through a divorce with children can be a difficult process. Parents are obligated by Texas law to ensure that financial resources are made available so as to ensure the best interests of the child. If you are going through a divorce, you may have questions about what these requirements may look like, and what a child support payment requirement might entail.
In short, the amount of a typical child support payment depends on a number of factors. Child support payments in Texas are determined primarily by the income of the spouse that is obligated to provide the support. Statutory guidelines provide the baseline for calculating the proper payment amount, and will account for factors such as the number of children, the amount of monthly income of the obligor, and any special factors of the child’s livelihood that are specific to the case at hand. Keep reading for a summary of the guidelines and considerations that may apply in any given instance.
If you are concerned about the amount of support that you are paying or receiving for your child, you should speak to one of the Houston child support attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. Our dedicated Dallas child support attorneys will make sure that you have the financial security to care for your child while also preserving your ability to provide for yourself. Call us for a free consultation about your child support payments at (817) 476-1797.
Child Support Payment Guidelines in Texas
Child support is a method of ensuring that the parent that has the burden of making payments that serve the child (the “obligee”) is compensated by the other parent (the “obligor”). In most cases, the obligor is the parent that has less physical custody of the child, or the higher level of monthly income, than the other parent.
Texas courts use established guidelines for determining the minimum amount that is owed in child support. The guidelines stipulate that the calculation take into account the amount of net monthly income of the obligor and the number of children that must be supported. Below are the express guidelines for calculating minimum child support payments using net monthly income in a given circumstance:
- 1 child = 20% of income
- 2 children = 25% of income
- 3 children = 30% of income
- 4 children = 35% of income
- 5 or more children = 40% or more of income
For instance, if an obligor making $4,000 per month owes child support payments for three children, their minimum child support obligation according to the guidelines would be $1,200. Once the oldest child turns 18 and graduates from high school, the obligation would decrease from 30% to 25%, or $1,000.
If the obligor’s net monthly income exceeds $7,500, the calculation will merely account for the first $7,500 of net monthly income. For instance, if an obligor makes $10,000 per month, and has two children that require support, the guidelines provide that the child support payment should be $1,875 (25% of $7,500), rather than $2,500 (25% of $10,000).
Calculating Net Monthly Income for Child Support Payments
Texas law stipulates that a determination of income for the purposes of calculating child support obligations must be considered in gross and then adjusted for appropriate deductions. Revenue sources that will be considered for calculating gross monthly income include wages, salary, dividends, interest, retirement pension payments, Social Security payments, and compensation for unemployment or disability. In short, any income that an obligor actually realizes will be considered in the calculation.
A Texas court will then discount from the gross income total any state or federal income taxes, union dues, Social Security taxes, or payments towards a health insurance plan that benefits the child or children in question.
If you have questions about how your net monthly income might be calculated due to a complicated income stream, our Fort Worth child custody attorneys will be able to explain the ramifications and present you with your likely obligations.
Exceptions to Child Support Payment Guidelines
As we mentioned above, the guidelines provide a minimum baseline for calculating child support payment responsibilities in Texas. The court may choose to increase or reduce the child support obligations provided by the guidelines provided that the proposed deviation is “in the best interest of the child.”
Factors that may influence a deviation from the guidelines may be based on the circumstances of either parent or the child. For instance, if both parents are employed with a comfortable level of income and have a similar level of physical access to the child, there may be less of a need for a significant amount of child support. Conversely, if one parent enjoys a substantial amount more access and personal supervision over the child which renders them unable to earn a suitable wage, the court may find that the amount of child support required from the other working spouse should be increased.
Courts will also take into account the specific circumstances of the child or children, such as special education costs, extracurricular activities, and additional cost of child care where needed. The court will also ensure that the child enjoys health insurance coverage, and determine the responsible party based on the availability of coverage and the quality of the plan that is sought or required in a given instance.
Duration of Child Support Payments
Obligors must provide child support for the child until the child turns 18 and graduates from high school or emancipates, whichever comes last.
If the child is determined to have a disability, the payments will continue until the label of disability is removed or otherwise indefinitely until the death of the child. A disability for child support purposes is a condition that requires substantial care and personal supervision that existed and was diagnosed before the child turned 18.
Need Help Determining Your Child Support Payments? Call Us For Help
The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. has been advocating for the needs of families for years. We know how difficult dealing with child care after a divorce can be. Let us ease your burden. Call us for a free consultation at (817) 476-1797.