Child Support

by Keith Spencer

At Bailey & Galyen, we frequently assist parents with child support issues. The Texas laws regarding child support set forth guidelines for the courts to follow in setting and enforcing child support payments. Generally speaking, the guidelines set child support at 20 percent of the payer’s net monthly resources for one child, 25 percent for two children, 30 percent for three children and so forth. These percentages are adjusted downward in cases where a payer must support children in different households. The chart reproduced below sets forth the percentages in such cases.

Multiple Family Adjusted Guidelines

(% of Net Resources)

Net Monthly Resources X Percentage Below = Monthly Child Support Obligation

Number of other children for whom the obligor has a duty of support Number of Children Before the Court
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
0 20.00 25.00 30.00 35.00 40.00 40.00 40.00
1 17.50 22.50 27.38 32.20 37.33 37.71 38.00
2 16.00 20.63 25.20 30.33 35.43 36.00 36.44
3 14.75 19.00 24.00 29.00 34.00 34.67 35.20
4 13.60 18.33 23.14 28.00 32.89 33.60 34.18
5 13.33 17.86 22.50 27.22 32.00 32.73 33.33
6 13.14 17.50 22.00 26.60 31.27 32.00 32.62
7 13.00 17.22 21.60 26.09 30.67 31.38 32.00

Net income means all income, including bonuses and overtime compensation.  A payer’s net resources are calculated by taking the payer’s gross annual income and subtracting the following “mandatory deductions” as applicable, and dividing by twelve months.  The “mandatory deductions” are:

  1. Social security taxes
  2. Federal income tax
  3. State income tax (Texas has none)
  4. Union dues (if applicable) and
  5. Expenses for the child’s health insurance coverage

A court is only authorized to deviate from the guidelines if the evidence rebuts the presumption that the application of the guideline amount serves the best interests of the child and that the variance is justified due to other circumstances.  The court may consider a wide range of factors in adjusting child support, such as the age and needs of the child, child care expenses, alimony, private school tuition, cost of travel to visit the child and college tuition.  Parents may agree to child support payment amounts that vary from the established guidelines.

Child support obligations generally endure until the child turns 18 and graduates from high school.  Under certain circumstances, child support can be ordered to continue after age 18 if the child is disabled and unable to care for him or herself.  Failure to pay court-ordered child support is punishable by contempt and may result in incarceration.  Child support payments may be modified periodically to ensure that the payments remain within guideline parameters.  The Office of the Attorney General of Texas is charged with the responsibility to collect child support payments and direct them to the receiving parent.

If you are struggling with a child support issue, schedule a free appointment with a Bailey & Galyen family law attorney to discuss the options available in your individual case.  Our attorneys will walk you through the computations and discuss ways to make child support arrangements appropriate for your child.

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