When you go through a divorce in Texas, a child support order will likely be part of your Parenting Plan if there are minor children of the marriage. If you anticipate being the parent who receives child support, you likely want to know how much you will be awarded so you can plan accordingly. Although you should always consult directly with an attorney, Dallas child support lawyer Rita M. Boyd explains how child support is determined in a Texas divorce.
What Is Included in My Spouse’s Income?
Unlike most other states that combine the income of both parents when calculating child support, Texas only looks at the income of the parent paying child support. The Texas Child Support Guidelines are then used to calculate how much support should be ordered. The first step in determining how much you will receive in child support is to figure out what will be included in your spouse’s income when the court orders child support. Texas law specifically includes the following sources when calculating income for the purpose of determining child support:
- One hundred percent of all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services (including commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses).
- Interest, dividends, and royalty income.
- Self-employment income.
- Net rental income (rent after deducting operating expenses and mortgage payments, but not including noncash items such as depreciation).
- All other income actually being received, including severance pay, retirement pay, pensions, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, disability and workers’ compensation benefits, interest income from notes regardless of the source, gifts and prizes, spousal maintenance, child support, and alimony.
By contrast, Texas also specifically excludes certain resources from income when calculating child support. For example, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, return of principal or capital, and the resources of a new spouse are not included in your spouse’s income.
How Is Child Support Calculated in Texas?
Another way in which Texas differs from most states when calculating child support is that Texas does not factor in the amount of overnights a child spends with the non-custodial parent (or the parent who exercises “possession and access time” as it is known in Texas). Instead, once the payor’s (your spouse in this case if you will be receiving child support) income is established, the amount of child support to be ordered is calculated by taking the total yearly gross income and dividing it by 12 to get the gross monthly income or dividing it by 52 for the gross weekly income. Certain expenses can be deducted from the payor’s gross income, including:
- Social security tax and Federal income taxes paid for a single person.
- State income taxes.
- Union dues.
- Child’s health insurance cost or cash medical support.
After you have the payor’s net weekly or monthly income it is a simple matter of applying the appropriate percentage that corresponds to the number of children for which support is ordered, as follows:
- One Child 20% of net resources
- Two Children 25% of net resources
- Three Children 30% of net resources
- Four Children 35% of net resources
- Five Children 40% of net resources
- Six Children Not less than 40% of net resources
By way of illustration, if your spouse has a gross monthly income of $6,000 but he/she pays for your children’s health insurance at a cost of $500 per month, your spouse’s net monthly income would be $5,500. If you have four children for which child support will be ordered, you will receive $1,925 in child support ($5,500 x 0.35 = $1,925). Keep in mind that the amount of child support you receive will decrease as each child reaches the age of majority and/or finishes college, depending on the terms of your divorce.
Contact a Dallas Child Support Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about child support in Texas, contact experienced Dallas child support lawyer Rita M. Boyd, P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options by calling 972-380-8000 to schedule your appointment today.