When is Child Support Appropriate?
The Texas Family Code presumes that it is in the best interest of the child for the noncustodial parent to pay child support. The presumption is rebuttable, which means it can be overcome if the circumstances allow. Circumstances that may qualify include a 50/50 possession schedule or an agreement between the parties. However, Courts order full guideline child support in the overwhelming majority of cases.
What is Guideline Child Support in Texas, and How is it Calculated?
In most divorce cases, the noncustodial parent is ordered to pay what is referred to as guideline child support. Guideline child support is outlined in Section 154 of the Texas Family Code. The parent’s net resources are determined based on formula provided in Section 154. Those net resources are then multiplied by a predetermined percentage to find the amount of child support owed. The percentage is based on the number of children the couple has together.
The parent owes 20% of net income for the first child. Another 5% is added for each additional child, up to a maximum of 40%. Note that a parent only pays child support on the first $11,400 of gross income each month. However, sometimes good cause exists to deviate from guideline support. For example, a child’s special needs that require expensive medical care may cause the Court to order additional child support above the guidelines.
How Does Being Self-Employed Affect my Child Support in Texas?
The Texas Family Code accounts for differences between self-employed and employed parents. The formula for calculating net resource for self-employed parents is adjusted to factor in self-employment tax rates. The net resources are then multiplied by a predetermined percentage to find the amount of child support owed. The percentage is based on the number of children the couple has together. The parent will owe 20% of net income for the first child. Another 5% is added for each additional child, up to a maximum of 40%.
Like employed parents, there is a cap on how much gross income is subject to child support under the guidelines. A self-employed parent only pays child support on the first $12,223 of gross income each month. This assumes that there are not valid reasons to deviate from guideline support.
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