If your upcoming divorce involves children, determining which spouse pays child support and the amount of those payments will be a big piece of the proceedings. But what is child support, exactly? And how is it calculated?
Child support typically involves regular payments made by one parent to the other parent, for the benefit of the child. Typically these payments are made to the parent who designates the child’s primary residence. These payments are court-ordered, and they are designed to provide for the basic essentials for the minor child, such as clothing, food, shelter, education, etc.
Parents have a duty to support their children, regardless of what happens to their marriage and how much time they ultimately spend with their child. Child support payments generally continue until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last.
However, if the child is physically or mentally disabled, the court could order the paying parent to continue support indefinitely.
How is child support calculated in Texas?
Please consult an attorney for advice about your individual support situation. However, physical custody generally determines who pays child support, and payments are calculated based on a percentage of the paying parent’s income. To determine this, the court calculates the monthly net income of the paying parent and multiplies it by a percentage based on how many children need support.
Several factors can impact the calculation, such as income level, children of a prior relationship, or the special needs of the children. However, if your net monthly income is $9,200 or less, the typical breakdown is as follows:
- 1 child – 20% of the monthly net income
- 2 children – 25% of the monthly net income
- 3 children – 30% of the monthly net income
- 4 children – 35% of the monthly net income
- 5 children – 40% of the monthly net income
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