Alamo Towers West, 901 NE Loop 410,
Suite 800,
San Antonio, TX 78209
Veteran Mother Comes Home

San Antonio TX Child Support Lawyer

What's the Bottom Line?

Texas' system for determining child support is straightforward when compared to most other States.  The number of children who are "of the marriage" (or relationship) determines what percent of the non-custodial parent's monthly paycheck goes to child support after allowable deductions.  The amount of the non-custodial parent's monthly pay after allowable deductions is called his or her "net resources."  Family Code guidelines set child support for one child at 20% of the monthly net resources.  Two children equals 25%.  Three children equals 30%.  The court can order an employer to make automatic deductions for child support. 

The Texas guidelines for determining child support apply in cases where the NCP’s net resources are $8,550 or less per month (increasing to $9,200 or less, effective September 1, 2019).  When a NCP’s net resources exceed $8,550 per month, a different formula is applied to the portion that exceeds $8,550.

How much the custodial parent makes is not considered unless the case is "high income" and the children have "proven needs" that require more child support.  How "high income" cases work builds upon the basic system described here.  So, we recommend you read this section first if your case is high income, meaning the non-custodial parent's net resources exceed $8,550 per month.  If you feel you need to read the high income description right away, you can do so by clicking here

That's basically how Texas determines child support.  Feel free to stop here or continue reading for a more in-depth understanding.   

Let’s Get the Terms Straight

The parent with whom the child lives is called the “custodial parent” (CP).  The CP also is known as the “obligee,” meaning they’re the person entitled to receive child support payments from the non-custodial parent.  The non-custodial parent (NCP) also is known as the “obligor.”  An obligor is the person obligated to make child support payments.  The terms obligee and obligor are awkward.  For simplicity, we’ll mostly refer to the custodial parent, or CP, and non-custodial parent, or NCP. 

Main Factors That Determine Child Support

The factors used by courts are published in the “Texas Guidelines for Support of a Child” which are part of the Family Code.  The guidelines use three main factors in determining how much child support the NCP will be ordered to pay.  The factors are:

  1. The NCP’s “net resources”;
  2. The number of children “before the court”; and,
  3. The number of children “not before the court.” 

Four Other Factors to Know Regarding Child Support

We’ll take a closer look at the three factors listed above shortly.  Before proceeding, there are four other factors you should know.

  1. The Texas guidelines for determining child support only apply to situations where the NCP’s net resources are $8,550 or less per month.  When the NCP’s net resources exceed $8,550 per month, a different formula is applied to the portion that exceeds $8,550.  See, this website’s section on “Child Support—High Income Cases” for explanation. 
  2. A court order for the guideline amount of child support is presumed to be in the best interests of the child.  Courts can deviate from the guidelines—but reasons for doing so must be stated in the court’s order. 
  3. If the NCP has remarried, the new spouse’s income cannot be added to the NCP’s income when determining the NCP’s child support obligation.  Conversely, the new spouse’s “needs” cannot be subtracted from the NCP’s income in determining the child support obligation.
  4. The Family Code contains policies to deal with sticky situations, such as when the NCP is determined to remain intentionally unemployed or underemployed.  The law does not condone misguided conduct that harms children. 

The Three Main Child Support Factors Explained

Factor #1: Net Resources

In reality, net resources is more than the monthly paycheck minus allowable deductions.  It is the product of a simple formula that adds (includes) all income and deducts (excludes) certain expenses.  Net resources includes the following:

  • All wages, salary, commissions, overtime pay and bonuses;
  • Interest, dividends and royalty income;
  • Capital gains;
  • Retirement benefits;
  • Trust or annuity income;
  • Social security benefits (other than Supplemental Security Income);
  • Unemployment benefits;
  • Disability and worker’s compensation benefits;
  • Gifts and prizes (e.g. lottery winnings); and,
  • Other items listed in the Family Code.

Net resources excludes the following:

  • Federal income taxes—limited to the amount for a single person with one exemption;
  • Social security taxes;
  • Union dues;
  • Cost of health insurance ordered by the court for the children;
  • Return of principal or capital; and,
  • Other items listed in the Family Code.

Factor #2: Children Before the Court

The number of children that are “of the marriage” is the core issue.  They are the children “before the court.”  They determine the percentage of the NCP’s net resources that will be ordered as child support.  The percentage is derived from the table below which is published in the Family Code.

Child Support Guidelines

Based on monthly net resources of the obligor [or NCP]

 1 child

 20% of the Obligor’s Net Resources

 2 children

 25% of the Obligor’s Net Resources

 3 children

 30% of the Obligor’s Net Resources

 4 children

 35% of the Obligor’s Net Resources

 5 children

 40% of the Obligor’s Net Resources

 6+ children

 Not less than the amount for 5 children

 Factor #3: Children Not Before the Court

Sometimes the NCP has children from a prior marriage or relationship to support.  Those children are “not before the court.”  When the NCP has multiple sets of children to support, the percentage in the Texas guidelines is reduced slightly, as expressed in the chart below.

Multiple Family Adjusted Guidelines

(% of Net Resources)

 

Number of Children Before the Court

1

2

3

Note:  More columns exist.  The chart is only reproduced partially in our website to save space.

Number of other children whom the obligor [or NCP] has a duty of support.

0

20.00

25.00

30.00

1

17.50

22.50

27.38

2

16.00

20.63

25.20

3

14.75

19.00

24.00

Note:  More rows exist.  The chart is only reproduced partially in our website to save space.

Sample Child Support Calculations

Scenario One

Scenario One Calculation
$3,000 x 25% = $750

The NCP’s net resources are determined to be $3,000 per month.  There are two children of the marriage for whom the NCP is being ordered to pay child support.  The NCP has no other children to support.  The court will set guideline child support at $750 per month.  The calculation is in the box at right.  Refer back to the tables to see where the percentage came from, if needed.

Scenario Two

Scenario Two Calculation
$3,000 x 22.50% = $675

Same facts as Scenario One—except that the NCP has one child from a prior marriage to support.  The court will set guideline child support for the same two children (i.e. the “children before the court”) at $675 per month.  The calculation is in the box at right.   

 



© 2019 Cramp Law Firm, PLLC | Disclaimer
Alamo Towers West, 901 NE Loop 410, Suite 800, San Antonio, TX 78209
| Phone: 210-762-4502

Practice Areas | Principles | Fees & Discounts | Attorney Bio

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinked-In CompanyYouTube

Law Firm Website Design by
Zola Creative


×