It is the duty of both parents to take care of a child whether they are married or not. Child support is the amount a parent contributes towards the upkeep of the child. Its purpose is to ensure that the child does not lack. Therefore, in case a parent doesn’t honour the obligation to support the child, the court can be used to enforce it. This is where you will need child support and divorce attorneys to assist you with the process.
However, how much should the parent contribute as the child support? How is it calculated? Here are a few things you should know about the calculation of child support.
1. The amount of child support is based on income
Your available net monthly income will determine how much of child support you will pay.
To obtain your annual gross income
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- Take all your salary income including bonuses, overtime, commissions, and tips.
- Add dividends, interest and royalty income
- Include income from self-employment
- Net rental income
- Any other income such as annuities, retirement pay, trust income, pensions, unemployment benefits, alimony, spousal maintenance, capital gains.
You should not include foster care payments, new spouse resources, capital returns, accounts receivable or needy families assistance benefits.
When you get the annual gross income, you divide it by 12 to obtain monthly gross income. It is from this figure that you should deduct compulsory retirement plant contributions, social security taxes, income taxes of the state, federal income taxes, union dues and the cost of health insurance of the child. This will give you the net monthly income.
2. Depends on the number of children
The number of children you are supporting will determine the amount of child support to contribute. Currently in Texas, child support for one child is 20% of the net income, for two children its 25%, for three children its 30%, for four children its 35%, for five children its 40% while for 6 or more children, the amount contributed should not be less than 40% of the income.
If you have other children you are supporting not related to these, such as with another partner, then the percentages are lowered.
3. Child support can be modified
In case of a change in circumstances, the amount of child support can be modified. For instance, if the salary of the payer increases, the receiving parent becomes unemployed, there is a change in the child’s age or change in health insurance.
However, any change in the amount of child support paid, whether increase or decrease requires a modification of the child support order via the court.
4. There is a cap on the maximum payment
In as much as the child support is based on a percentage of the net monthly income, there is a cap to the amount that can be paid. The maximum amount is adjusted every six years depending on inflation. As from September 2013, the cap on maximum net monthly income is $8,550 which means that if you are supporting one child, the maximum the child can get in a month is $1,710 while two kids can get a maximum of $2,137.50.
If the amount of income of the child support payer is less than $8,550, then the payments are made based on the percentages provided.