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How child support payments are calculated in Texas

Under Texas law, non-custodial parents may be required to pay child support until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school. In some cases, though, payments of child support may be scheduled indefinitely if the child is physically or mentally disabled and requires continuing care and supervision. In order to calculate how much a non-custodial parent may pay, a court may look at several factors.

Depending on the number of children the non-custodial parent supports, the court will determine through a mathematical formula what percentage of net income he or she is expected to pay. Net income includes 100 percent of what the non-custodial parent makes, including salary, commission, bonuses and overtime. Any earnings from royalty payments or dividends as well as wages made by being self-employed or from rental properties are also considered net income.

Deductible items before child support is calculated include federal and state income and social security tax as well as union fees. If the non-custodial parent remarries, their spouse's income is not included. Additionally, if a non-custodial parent makes less than $7,500 per month, support is capped at a specific percentage based on the number of children supported. In the event the non-custodial parent needs to modify the payments because he or she becomes unemployed or physically disabled, it is important to notify the court as soon as possible and provide verification of the changes.

A family law attorney may represent the non-custodial parent during child support negotiations. An attorney could help a parent understand how payments are determined under the state's law as well as how his or her financial situation could affect it. If modification is needed, the attorney may also approach the court with a viable plan.

Source: Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, "Child Support Calculations ", September 15, 2014

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