In Texas, there is what is known as a “soft cap” when it comes to calculating child support. This means that, in general, there is a maximum level of income that a divorced parent can be ordered (by the court) to pay in child support. While there are exceptions, they are rare. The State of Texas always puts the best interest of the involved children first, and this applies to calculating child support. If you are going through a divorce, you obviously have concerns related to supporting your children as you move forward, consult with an experienced Central Texas divorce attorney today.
Texas and Child Support Calculations
Unlike many other states, Texas focuses nearly exclusively on the obligor’s income – the income of the parent who will be paying child support – in calculating said child support. Typically, child support is calculated at 20 percent of the obligor’s net income (total income minus mandatory deductions), and this percentage usually increases by five percent for each additional child. The obligor’s total income and the number of children he or she supports guides the amount of child support that the court will order, but there are exceptions that can also apply.
Child Support Calculation Exceptions
The most common exceptions made in child support calculations in Texas are based on the needs of the individual children involved. For example, a child with special needs would obviously need more support than a child who is not burdened by such needs. Further, a child with special needs who will never go on to live independently requires child support for a longer period of time than does a child who is capable of obtaining an independent adult life. Finally, if the children in question are too young to attend school and require daycare, child support may be calculated at an elevated amount that reflects this increased expense.
The State of Texas provides a guidance chart that delineates the obligor’s minimum and maximum payment range and that provides courts with a framework within which to structure child support payments equitably. The basics include that, absent special circumstances, the paying parent will pay 20 percent of his or her net income for one child and 5 percent more for each additional child – up to a maximum of 40 percent for 5 children (or more) in one household. If the obligor has children in more than one household, the court employs an alternative child support calculation method.