The Texas Family Code shows a strong preference for child support to be paid by one parent to another. Child support is sum of money that is to be used for the care of the child. Under the Texas Family Code the paying party does not have any rights to determine how the money is spent or to receive and accounting of how the funds are used. The assumption is that the party receiving child support will use the funds properly.
The parents of a child in Texas may reach an agreement regarding the sum of child support to be paid. This amount can range from zero to anything. If they are going to have a court order though they will have to convince a judge to sign off on the amount they agree on. Some judges are not inclined to agree to zero, but can be convinced if there is good enough reason.
If the parties are unable during a divorce or separation the judge will decide on the amount. Generally the courts turn to the Texas Family Code Chapter 154 to determine the amount of child support to be paid.
The Texas Family Code provides a formula to determine child support. The formula is presumed to result in an amount that will be in the best interest of the child. This means that the same rules for determining support generally apply to every person. Unlike some States, such as California, the non-paying party’s income is not considered as part of the formula.
The Texas child support formula turns on gross income as opposed to net income. The formula starts with gross income and from that number determines child support as a percentage of an individual’s net income, which is the money he or she is left with after they pay taxes, union dues (if any) and certain other financial obligations. The amount he or she starts with before paying those things is their gross income. Gross income can include the following:
- Regular salary
- Perks such as a company vehicle or airline miles
- Money from any other any and all sources can be considered part of an individual’s gross income.
Once gross income is determined the Texas Family Code provides a set amount to be removed to account for taxes, social security, etc. This amount is based on the gross income. The idea is that by setting the amount that can be claimed as taxes paid the chances for playing games goes down. A set amount cannot be manipulated. If the Texas Family Code allowed a person paying child support to deduct what they actually pay in taxes from their gross income the amount of taxes paid could be manipulated by claiming additional dependents or similar methods that would result in an inaccurate figure. By setting the amount based on gross income for everyone cheating the system is reduced.
After taxes are removed from gross income union dues and health insurance premiums for the children are deducted. The remainder is the net income.
Once net income is set the Texas Family Code provides a very simple formula for determining the amount of child support.
- 20% for one child
- 25% for two children
There is a cap to net income. The method for determining net income only applies to the first $6,000.00 of net income per month earned. Anything beyond that is not considered. This means that if you make more than $6,000.00 per month the court is not allowed to take the amount about $6,000.00 per month into consideration as part of the formula. Therefore a person making $6,000.00 per month and a person making $10,000.00 per month will pay the same amount of child support assuming they have the same number of children.
Additionally there is a deduction or credit of 2.5% given for each child you have an obligation to support that is in another household.