Trying to figure out how to calculate child support can seem confusing. However, it doesn’t need to be. Texas Family Courts in Denton, Collin, Tarrant, Wise, Dallas, and all other Texas counties use the same Family Code and use the same method to calculate child support. In these counties, the Family Court will presume that child support is in the best interests of the child. The Court uses a formula (calculator) to calculate child support uniformly.
Determining Child Support Obligation:
The Texas Attorney General has promulgated a formula for how to calculate child support based on gross income. The calculator takes the gross income number and applies the formula. The program spits out the “net available resources” calculation and the amount due in child support. Here are the steps needed for how to calculate child support you may owe:
Your gross income is used to calculate child support.
Remember, if you get paid monthly, multiply your monthly gross amount by 12 in order to get your gross income. “Gross” means the amount you get paid before any taxes or other withholdings are deducted from your check. If you get paid weekly, multiply your weekly check by 52 (weeks in a year), or multiply it by 24 (if paid 2 times per month), or 26 (if paid every 2 weeks). The most accurate calculation would be to take all of your paystubs and other documents reflecting income (check stubs, investment statements, 1099 statements, etc.) for a given year and capture all bonuses, incentives, options, etc. Then, take the total amount for the year and divide by 12 to get the monthly average.
The Texas Family Code defines what is considered income for how to calculate child support in Denton, Collin, Dallas, Tarrant, and Wise counties as: One hundred percent of all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services. This includes commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses. Interest, dividends, and royalty income is included. Self-employment income is included. Net rental income is included. That means rent paid to you after deducting operating expenses and mortgage payments, but not including non-cash items such as depreciation. All other income actually being received is calculated. That includes 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.
Some income is not included to calculate child support. The following items are specifically not considered income for child support purposes: (a) Return of principal or capital on a note not included in net resources; (b) Accounts receivable; (c) Benefits paid through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); (d) Payments for foster care; or, (e) Net resources of a new spouse.
Get your average monthly income to held calculate child support:
Simply divide the annual gross income you get by 12 to give you average monthly gross income.
In order to get your average net available resources, you will need to subtract the following from the gross monthly income number: Federal income taxes paid for a single person claiming one personal deduction and the standard deduction; State income taxes; Union dues; and Child’s health insurance cost or cash medical support. The Attorney General issues a tax chart for each tax year for the purpose of making this computation. See the link below:
Next, you will need to calculate child support using the percentages set by Texas law.
The percentages below are used to calculate the child support obligation (unless the child lives in more than one household in which case the calculations are different). For 2017, child support maxes out at the applicable percentage below on the first $8,550.00 of monthly net resources. So the maximum amount of child support for one child is $1,710.00 per month (20% of $8,550.00). For two children, it is $2,125.00 per month (25% of $8,550.00). If the average net monthly resources are $8,550.00 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 your child reasonably requires more child support:
The Court may award more child support if the net monthly resources are more than $8,550.00 and the child’s proven needs are greater than the presumptive guidelines amount. However, the family law 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 you and your ex-spouse 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.
If you support other children in Denton, Collin, Dallas, Tarrant, Wise, or all Texas Counties, your child support obligation may be different.
In cases where the parent paying child support is paying child support for other children outside of this case, the percentages are slightly lower
The Court will likely order child support even if the paying parent is unemployed.
If the paying parent is not currently employed, the Court will still presume that the party has income equal to the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour week to which the child support guidelines will be applied.
Don’t Be Confused, Call Kelley Clarke, PLLC for Help in How to Calculate Child Support in Denton, Collin, Tarrant, Dallas, or Wise Counties:
The above issues are just a sample of issues that can present themselves when trying to calculate child support obligations in Denton, Collin, Dallas, Tarrant, Wise, or other Texas counties.
Please call Kelley Clarke, PLLC at 972-253-4440. We can help you.
Read our other family law related blog topics, such as Recognizing Parental Alienation.