You’ve probably heard of child support. When a child’s parents get divorced, one parent (the obligor) may be ordered to pay a percentage of their net resources to the other parent (the obligee) to support the child. In Texas, some attorneys and judges may use the term “guideline child support.” What exactly does that term mean, and what do you need to know about it? Let’s look at some of the basics.
Guideline Child Support
In Texas, the law has a specific guideline to determine what the obligor should pay in child support in determining an equitable amount of support. When the obligor pays that amount, it’s called guideline child support, and presumed to be reasonable and in the best interest of the child.
The guidelines for support are specifically designed to apply to situations where the obligors net resources are $9,200.00 or less. If their net resources are over $9,200.00, the court must presumptively apply the percentage guideline to the first $9,200.00 of the obligor’s net resources. The Court may then order additional support based on (1) the income of the parties and (2) the proven needs of the child, i.e., private school, extracurricular activities, summer camps, tutoring, medical costs, counseling, educational books etc.
Application of Guideline to Net Resources
Gross income should first be computed on an annual basis and then recalculated to determine average gross income. The percentage depends on the number of children that the parents have together. See below:
1 child 20% of Obligor’s Net Resources;
2 children 25% of Obligor’s Net Resources;
3 children 30% of Obligor’s Net Resources;
4 children 35% of Obligor’s Net Resources;
5 children 40% of Obligor’s Net Resources; and
6 plus children Not less 40% of the Obligor’s Net Resources.
The judge will help determine the exact amount.
What is included in Resources?
- All wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services (tips, bonuses, etc.);
- Interest, dividends, and royalty income;
- Self-employment income;
- Net rental income; and
- All other income received such as Severance Pay, Retirement benefits, Pensions, Trust income, Annuities, Capital gains, etc.
A court may determine application of the guideline would be unjust or inappropriate under certain circumstances.
Place and Manner of Payment
The court must order the payment of child support to the state disbursement unit located in San Antonio.
Equal Possession or Split Custody
The appointment of joint managing conservators does not limit the court’s authority to order child support. In those cases, the court’s normally order what is often referred to an “offset child support”. More specifically, one would calculate guideline child support required for each parent, then subtract one from the other, and the parent with the highest net resources would pay the difference, i.e. if parent 1 guideline child support is $800.00 a month, and parent 2’s guideline child support is $300.00, then parent 1 would pay parent 2 $500.00 a month as offset child support.
Looking for Counsel About Guideline Child Support?
Child support can get complicated and confusing. It doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you’ve been divorced for years or have just started the process, it’s important to know all your parental rights and responsibilities.
The Moran Law Firm team has years of experience in Texas family law. We’ve studied the ins and outs of the child support system. If you need counsel about child support, we’re here to help. Get in touch with us today if you need help. We’ll fiercely fight for your rights and those of your family.