A question I am asked often is “how do I calculate my child support obligation?” Under Texas Law, the amount of current child support a parent is obligated to pay is based on a parent’s income available for child support and the number of children that the parent has an obligation to support.
The chart below illustrates the percentages used to calculate that obligation. As you see, the more children you have before the court, the higher percentage of your net resources you are obligated to pay towards child support.
Generally, monthly net resources refer to your monthly income after you subtract Federal Income Tax Withholding, FICA, and Medicare. This number is then multiplied by a percentage based upon the number of children before the court and the number of children you have an obligation to support.
For example, if your monthly net resources are $5,000.00 and you have one child before the court, your child support obligation will be $1,000.00 per month or rather 20% of $5,000.00. The amount of child support also takes into consideration other children you have an obligation to support, but which are not before the court. For example, if your monthly net resources are $5,000.00 and you have one child before the court, but two children that you are responsible for supporting from a prior relationship, your monthly child support obligation is $875.00 per month or rather 17.5% of $5,000.00.
“But what about the health insurance that I am also providing for the child?” If the parent responsible for paying child support is also paying cash medical support or providing health insurance for the child, the amount of the monthly premiums can be deducted from the monthly net resources and included in the child support calculation. For example, if your monthly net resources are $5,000.00 and you are paying $100.00 per month in health insurance for the child, your monthly child support obligation would be $980.00 or 20% of $4,900.00.
As an aside, the monthly net resources that the court can use to calculate child support caps out at $8,550.00 per month. Therefore, under the guidelines, the maximum support a parent can generally be ordered to pay for one child is $1,710.00 or 20% of $8,550.00.