Paying child support is an important responsibility. That said, many parents see it as an unfair punishment. Because of this, child support matters can become contentious.
Misinformation is one common reason for disputes. People do not always understand that the courts use a specific formula to calculate child support; it is not an arbitrary, subjective amount. A person’s income is one of the factors used to calculate amounts. But even this can create some confusion. For instance, people wonder if overtime pay is part of a person’s income.
Income and net resources
In the context of calculating child support, overtime pay is part of a person’s income. And under Texas Family Code, so are bonuses, commissions and tips.
Income is not the only financial consideration courts use to calculate child support. They also look at a person’s other financial resources, which includes money a person takes in outside of income. Examples can include:
- Capital gains
- Severance pay
- Retirement benefits
- Some Social Security benefits
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Gifts or prizes
These and any other eligible resources will be included with a person’s income to determine child support.
Other factors that affect support
In addition to income and resources, the courts also look at two other factors: financial obligations and the number of children receiving support.
Financial obligations include expenses like taxes, union dues, and the cost of a child’s medical and dental insurance. The calculator will deduct these amounts.
If a person is paying support for more than one child, including children from other relationships, a child support award can be reduced.
Arriving at a final number
After considering income, resources and deductions, you should have a number showing monthly net resources.
The percentage a person can expect to pay will be roughly 20 percent for one child, 25 percent for two children, and so on up to 40 percent. These numbers will be lower for someone who is already paying support for other children.
While there can be special circumstances that may affect the calculation, this is generally what a person can anticipate in terms of calculating child support in Texas.