Child support is a crucial aspect of child care when two parents decide to end their relationship. However, it can be a complicated matter to understand all alone. In comparison to other states, Texas places value in the care of a child by two parents rather than one. One example of this is the implementation of a child support system for a parent that gains custody. If you’re going through a divorce, you may worry about receiving adequate assistance. Raising a child is expensive when you figure in all the clothes, school supplies, and transportation. However, with the right knowledge, you’re able to get the assistance your child needs.
When it comes to child support, the laws in Texas view each parent as a different party. In Texas the person who receives support payments is the obligee. Meanwhile, the person who must pay support to the obligee is the obligor. In Texas, the obligee is typically the person who holds primary possession of a child. This means that person houses the child. Most often, the person housing the child is the one to pay for food, clothes, and other necessities.
It’s very rare in Texas, but in some instances, the obligor may be under court order to refrain from interaction with their child. This happens in cases of abuse, neglect, or harm. Though an obligor may have restrictions from meeting with their child, they may still need to make support payments. Texas courts will also order that one parent has the child covered by health insurance. The child or children can be on either the obligee’s or the obligor’s health insurance, and that expense will be calculated into the finalized support payment.
In the discussion of child support, you’ll often see use of the term guidelines. Guidelines is a word that simply means the rules set out by a court for child support to be paid. This includes duration, amount, and stipulations to support payments. Typically, the obligor must make support payments until their child turns 18 or graduates high school. However, there are other circumstances where the payments may change due to a child’s disability, death, or marriage.
It’s also important to note that an obligor may be responsible for support payments past the age of 18 if the child has a physical or mental disability. In some cases, child support may continue after the age of 18 if a child becomes disabled during his or her lifetime as well. However, the child must become disabled before the age of 18 or have a preexisting condition in order for child support payments to extend beyond 18 years old.
Child support payments in Texas are based on several different facts, but in most instances where support is deemed necessary, a Texas judge will follow the basic guidelines set by law. Guidelines set a minimum amount of support due every month, however, a judge can rule to increase that minimum amount. The court calculates the minimum amount of support to pay based on the net monthly income of the obligor. Once net monthly income is calculated, one of two standards will be used to make the final calculation. One standard will calculate payments based on if the obligor’s net monthly income is below $7,500 a month and one standard will calculate payments based on if the obligor’s net monthly income is ever more than $7,500 a month.
As mentioned earlier the calculations for child support use two factors: net monthly income and one of two standards. To calculate net monthly income, the court will calculate the gross annual income of the obligor first. Then, the court will divide the gross annual income by 12 to come up with a gross monthly income.
For example, if the obligor makes $42,000 per year, their gross monthly income is calculated as $3,500. However, because of things like taxes and health care, the gross monthly income isn’t used in the final equation. To get net monthly income, the court will then add income from other sources, including royalty income, stock dividends, self-employment income, severance, retirement, and pensions. Say that a person receives $1,000 a month from these other streams of income and their gross monthly income increases to $4,500 per month.
Finally, following the separation or divorce, the court will calculate social security tax, income tax, and union dues and subtract that from the gross monthly income. For this example, we’ll calculate these factors as 20% of gross monthly income, meaning that net monthly income is $3,600 per month. A monthly child support payment will then be calculated based on how many children the obligee is responsible for taking care of.
One child is 20% of net monthly income while two children is 25%, three children is 30%, and four children is 35%. Using standard guidelines and the $7,500 rule for net monthly income, an obligor with one child will need to make a monthly support payment of $720 per month.
Child custody and support can be a complicated matter without the right help. Whether you’re an obligee or an obligor, Wilson & Associates Law can assist you with any knowledge you need going forward. Having a good family law attorney can help you get what your child deserves, and being connected with a family law attorney can also be beneficial for child custody cases and divorce cases. We know the importance of family, and we know any of these situations create stressful times. That’s why you need a person to support you, who knows the law, and can get your child what they need as soon as they need it.