How to calculate child support in Texas
Texas has a formula to determine the amount of child support the state “presumes” is in the child’s best interest. As a part of our services, we help you with these calculations. In a nutshell, child support in Texas is determined by figuring out the average net monthly resources of the paying parent and applying guidelines established by the Texas legislature that require paying a percentage of those average net monthly resources depending on how many children there are.
If you are totally baffled (don’t feel bad, most people are), then try this Texas Child Support Calculator which will give you a pretty good idea of the amount that you would pay until we can figure it out more precisely in our office.
If you want to make a stab at it yourself, you will need to calculate the paying parent’s average net monthly resources. This is done by first calculating gross income on an annual basis.
Remember, when you calculate annual gross income, if you get paid a fixed amount, take the amount paid and multiply it by 52 if paid weekly, multiply it by 12 if paid monthly, by 24 if paid two times per month, or by 26 if paid every two weeks.
Step 1 – Determine what income is to be included:
Include the following income in your annual gross income calculation:
- 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 non-cash items such as depreciation); and
- 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.
Do not include:
- Return of principal or capital on a note not included in net resources;
- Accounts receivable;
- Benefits paid through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);
- Payments for foster care; or
- Net resources of a new spouse.
Step 2: Get the average monthly income.
Divide the annual gross income you get by 12 to give you average monthly gross income.
Step 3: Subtract the the following from the average monthly income to give you average monthly net resources:
- Federal income taxes paid for a single person claiming one personal deduction and the standard deduction;
- State income taxes;
- Social security taxes (tip: click here to see a chart that shows monthly net income after taxes);
- Union dues; and
- Child’s health insurance cost or cash medical support.
To determine the amount of monthly child support, apply the percentages below to the average monthly net resources (unless the child lives in more than one household in which case the calculations are different). For 2012, the maximum child support payment in Texas is capped at a percentage of $7,500 average net monthly resources. So the maximum amount of child support for one child is $1500 per month and $1875 for two. The cap on the maximum average net monthly resource amount will be adjusted every six years according to inflation beginning in 2007. If the average net monthly resources are $7,500 or less, the amount of child support is calculated as a percentage of the actual average net monthly resources:
- 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
If the net monthly resources are more than $7,500 the amount of child support may be adjusted upward if the child’s proven needs are greater than the presumptive guidelines amount. A court may order one or both parents depending on their circumstances to pay the difference between the guideline amount and the child’s proven needs, but the judge cannot order more than the presumptive amount of child support or one hundred percent of the child’s proven needs, whichever is greater (unless of course the parents agree to that amount). If the child receives social security or disability benefits from the paying spouse’s old age social security or disability benefits, those amounts are subtracted from the total amount of child support required under the guidelines.
In cases where the parent paying child support is paying child support for other children outside of this case, the percentages are slightly lower. We can help you calculate these reduced amounts.