Child Support Rules in Texas

By Jimmy Verner

Texas courts calculate the amount of child support you owe by adding your annual income from all sources, subtracting certain amounts from that total and then applying percentages to your monthly net resources up to $8,550. The percentages vary depending on how many children there are of this marriage and how many other children you are court-ordered to support. A court can also award additional child support based on earnings over the cap of $8,550 depending on the needs of the child.

Not Included in Annual Income

Certain specified items are not included as part of annual income when computing child support according to Texas guidelines: return of principal or capital; accounts receivable; Supplemental Security Income; non-service-connected Veterans Affairs disability pension benefits; benefits paid in accordance with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program or another federal public assistance program; and payments for foster care of a child.

Subtractions from Annual Income

Texas allows you to subtract these amounts from your earnings to reach the net resources figure on which support is based: Social Security taxes; federal income tax based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one personal exemption and the standard deduction; another state's income tax, although Texas has none; union dues; court-ordered expenses for the cost of health insurance or cash medical support for the children up to 9 percent of the amount of gross annual income; and if you don't pay Social Security taxes, nondiscretionary retirement plan contributions.

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Number of Children

The percentage applied to net resources depends on how many children you have. This is called guideline child support. Guideline child support equals 20 percent of your net resources for one child, 25 percent for two children, 30 percent for three children, 35 percent for four children and 40 percent for five or more children. If you have other children you are under court order to support, the percentages decline to take account of your other child support obligations.

Over-Guideline Child Support

If your monthly net resources exceed $8,550, a court may order child support in an amount higher than the guideline child support -- referred to as over-guideline support -- depending on the needs of the child. Some of the factors the courts consider when deciding whether to award over-guideline child support are the age of the child; your financial ability to pay additional child support; other financial resources available for the child's support; whether your employer furnishes you an automobile, housing or other benefits; and any special or extraordinary educational, healthcare or other expenses of the child.

How Support Is Calculated

Suppose you gross $2,500 twice per month, you have two children and you pay $150 in health insurance premiums for each of them. Your annual income equals $60,000. If you subtract federal income taxes for a single person claiming one exemption and the standard deduction, as well the health insurance premiums for the children, your net resources would equal $3,465.12 per month for tax year 2012. If you are not ordered to support any other children, your Texas guideline child support for two children is 25 percent of your net resources, which in this case equals $866.28 per month.

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