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Calculating Net Resources for Child Support

When a couple undergoes the divorce procedure, there are many things they need to sort out. The best way is to arrive at compromises, but at certain points, the court must strongly intervene. 

The state of Texas has always made the welfare of the children as their priority. Thus, details like child support will not be compromised. 

Child Support Regulations

There are very stringent guidelines on calculating child support. The court will calculate your child support capacity based on your net income. Now, there are many different circumstances with how people earn their income—some have fixed salaries from a company, some earn from their business and some earn by contractual services. Regardless of the manner of income, the court will take a fixed percentage for child support. 

The usual arrangement for Texas law is that one parent is named as the primary conservator whom the child will reside with. Thus, the other parent will be responsible for child support. 

The calculation is 20% of the net income resources of the non-conservator parent for one child, with 5% increases for every additional child. Thus, if you have two children, child support will increase to 25%. Child support for five children is at 40% of the net income.

If the net income is $2000 per month, then the monthly child support payment is 400$ if they have one child. The corresponding percentages will apply, with up to $800 if they have 5 children. 

The child support will last until the child turns eighteen or graduates from high school. The percentages will drop as each child reaches these milestones.

Determining Net Income

While the calculation itself seems simple enough, the complications arise in determining the amount of net income. 

The net income not only pertains to the salary or consultancy fees that the parent received on a regular basis. Even bonuses, overtime and hazard payments, unemployment and disability benefits, commissions and gift income will be considered in the calculation. 

This is an essential factor since there is a prevailing belief that if the paying parent is disabled or incapacitated to work, child support should stop. That is not the case if they receive any disability benefit. Whatever amount they receive, this will also be subject to child support.

The main disputes can arise if a paying parent will intentionally declare underemployment—meaning they will take on a job that is less than what their education and work experience can earn them. Since the income declared is lower, the child support will also be reduced. 

In this case, the opposing parent can request for an accountant or other capable expert witnesses to determine a more accurate net income. 

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

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