All wages, salary, bonus payments, interest & dividend income, rental income & income from any other sources, minus:
- Social security taxes
- Federal income taxes
- Union dues
- Health insurance premiums for the child/children
- The Net Resource figure is to be calculated as a monthly figure
Application of Guideline Percentages
The Net Resource figure (up to $8,500.00) will be multiplied by the guideline percentage. The Court can set the child support above the guideline number if the needs of the child/children justify doing so.
Child Support Guidelines
The chart above is included in the Texas Family Code along with a comment that the judge should assume the guideline percentages are appropriate unless the circumstances of a particular case are unusual. As a practical matter, the guideline figure is more often than not the number the judge will select for child support.
Other Factors Related to Child Support
In setting the child support amount, the judge may vary from the guideline figures if it is in the child’s best interests to do so. The factors the judge may consider in making that decision include:
- The age and needs of the child.
- The ability of the parents to financially support the child.
- The sources of funds available to support the child.
- The time periods during which each parent has possession of the child.
- The earning potential of the paying party.
- Child care expenses.
- Whether the parent with custody of the child has custody of another child.
- The amount of alimony or spousal maintenance being paid or received.
- College expenses for another child.
- Whether either party receives benefits that reduce that party’s ongoing expenses.
- Unusual education or health care expenses.
- Travel expenses necessary to have time with the child.
Generally speaking, if a parent wants the judge to set the child support figure above the guideline number, there must be evidence that the extra money is directly related to the child’s needs. In most instances, that means the child has special needs that are expensive (i.e., ongoing health care expenses, special education costs, etc.) or the lifestyle of the child prior to the divorce was more costly than the guideline figure will allow.
In the vast majority of cases, the child support number will be set in accordance with the guidelines. Of course, the parents can always make an agreement to the contrary and the judges very seldom question the wisdom of the parties in doing so.