How Is Child Support Determined?

Under the Texas Constitution, all parents have a legal obligation to support their children financially. According to family law in Texas, “a parent” refers to the child’s biological mother and a man who either signed a paternity acknowledgment, was married to the mother, or who has been otherwise legally determined to be the child’s biological father. Adoptive parents are also responsible for financially supporting their adopted children. Texas family law requires parents to support a child until he or she turns 18 years old, with some exceptions. Whichever parent does not have primary custody of the child is generally known as the obligor; and it is he or she who is obligated to pay child support. Child support rules are multi-faceted and so a family law attorney in The Woodlands is best able to help you estimate the amount you could be ordered to pay or receive.

Income Child Support

The income of the obligor is the most significant factor when calculating child support. In Texas, parents are required to submit to the court information about their gross income. If they are self-employed, they must submit their average monthly self-employment income, which is gross income less business expenses.

Deductions

Inform your child support lawyers of any deductions that the court should consider when calculating the amount of your payment. This may include health insurance premiums that you pay for your children. You may also be allowed to deduct court-ordered alimony or child support that you are already paying for a previous marriage and other children. When in doubt, let your attorney know what costs or expenses should be deducted, nothing should be left “off the table.”

Family Size

The amount of the child support payment will be adjusted depending on how many children must be supported. If you are paying child support for two children, the amount of the original payment is not doubled. Instead, the payment is increased by a certain percentage of your income.

Guideline Adjustments

Texas family court judges use family code guidelines when calculating the amount of child support to order. However, there are circumstances in which a judge will consider adjusting the support amount. The amount may be increased or decreased depending on the child’s age and needs, educational expenses, extraordinary healthcare expenses, and any other factors that speak to the best interests of the child.

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