Child Support

Child Support Lawyer Midland

The amount of child support to be paid is spelled out in a mathematical formula provided in the Texas Family Code. The Code states that child support will be paid to the custodial parent by the non-custodial parent and will be calculated as a percentage of gross income. The amount paid will vary depending on the level of wages that are earned and the number of children being supported as listed below.

  • 1 child to receive 20% of gross income
  • 2 children to receive 25% of gross income
  • 3 children to receive 30% of gross income
  • 4 children to receive 35% of gross income
  • 5 or more children to receive 40% of gross income

Gross Income Defined

Gross income can be defined as all income earned from all sources (with certain taxes, deductions and personal exemptions allowed by law). The sources of income that are considered gross income for the purpose of calculating child support include:

  • All wages and salary income
  • Commissions
  • Overtime pay
  • Tips and bonuses
  • Net rental income
  • Self-employment income

There are also other sources of income that are taken into consideration when calculating child support. These other sources include:

  • Interest, dividend and royalty income
  • Severance pay
  • Social security benefits
  • Retirement and pension income
  • Unemployment, disability and workers’ compensation
  • Spousal maintenance, and alimony
  • Capital gains
  • Trust income or annuities
  • Gifts and prizes

If the non-custodial parent does not have any wage or salary income to report, or if the court suspects that they are intentionally underemployed or unemployed, gross income may be imputed by the court. This can be done based upon their education, skills, previous employment and past income. Another option available to the court is to assume that the non-custodial parent earns wages that are equal to the federal minimum wage (based on a 40 hour work week). Lastly, the court can impute income to assets that are currently not producing any income, such as a rental house that stands vacant.

Allowable Taxes, Deductions and Exemptions

There are a number of taxes, deductions and exemptions that may reduce gross income for the purpose of calculating child support. These taxes, deductions and exemptions include:

  • Federal income taxes (calculated for a single person with one allowable exemption plus the standard deduction)
  • State income tax (if levied / Texas does not have a state income tax)
  • Union dues
  • Social Security taxes
  • Medicare taxes
  • Health insurances costs (for the children only)
  • Non-discretionary retirement plan contributions that are not covered by Social Security

There are also a number of other resources that can be excluded from gross income and the court is given wide discretion to increase or decrease child support based upon other mitigating factors. These resources and factors can be complex and are best explored with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.