Every state has child support guidelines that set forth the presumptive amount due from one party to the other in a divorce or suit affecting the parent-child relationship. Below you will find an example calculation for Texas, which will give you a rough idea of what factors affect the child support calculations. While this calculation can be very similar state-to-state, you need to check your own state's laws to figure out exactly how much your child support payments will be.
Calculate the paying party's net income.The first thing to determine is the paying party's gross income. Income includes money from:
- Overtime work
- Rental income
- Interest income
- And the like
From the gross income, the Court will determine the net income of the paying party by deducting social security taxes, federal income taxes based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one personal exemption and the standard deduction, state income tax, union dues, and expenses for the cost of health insurance for the child (if any).
If a paying party's net resources are $7,500 per month or less, the following child support will almost always apply:
- For 1 child, the child support order will be 20% of the paying party's net resources.
- For 2 children, it is 25%.
- For 3 children it is 30%.
- For 4 children, it is 35%.
- For 5 children or more, it is at least 40%, if not more.
Determine if there are special factors which might suggest deviating from the guideline amounts.
There may be circumstances when it is in the best interests of the children to deviate from the child support guidelines. This may include:
- Special or extraordinary educational support
- Health care or other expenses of the parties or child
- The cost of travel if it is necessary to see the child
- The financial resources available for the support of the child
- The ability of the parents to contribute to the support of the child
- And other such factors
If those facts are present, a court may deviate from the child support guidelines and enter a support order that is lower than or higher than the amount recommended in the guidelines as described above.