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TX high asset lawyerDivorcing spouses will need to address many different legal and financial concerns when ending their marriage, and in many cases, a divorce case will become more complex when a couple has children. In addition to determining how they will share child custody, parents should also understand their child support obligations. In cases where a couple has a high net worth, parents may need to address additional financial issues when determining the amount of child support that will be paid.

Texas Child Support Guidelines

The state of Texas uses a straightforward “percentage of income” method to calculate a parent’s child support obligations. The parent who has the majority of the time with the children and is granted the right to decide where children will live is known as the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent will typically pay child support to the custodial parent. The amount of child support is calculated by taking a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s “net resources,” as follows:

  • One child: 20% of the non-custodial parent’s net resources
  • Two children: 25% of the non-custodial parent’s net resources
  • Three children: 30% of the non-custodial parent’s net resources
  • Four children: 35% of the non-custodial parent’s net resources
  • Five children: 40% of the non-custodial parent’s net resources
  • Six or more children: At least the amount that would be paid for five children

A non-custodial parent’s net resources are determined by taking the income they earn and subtracting federal and state income taxes, Social Security taxes, union dues, and amounts paid toward their children’s health insurance, dental insurance, and other medical expenses. In high net worth divorce cases, a parent’s income may not only include the wages they earn, but also interest and dividends on investments, income earned from rental properties, capital gains, income earned from trusts, annuities, pensions, retirement benefits, and gifts.

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Posted on in Child Support

Texas child support attorneyWhen some people think about child support expenses, they only consider the costs related to providing food, clothing, and insurance. However, the reality is that child support awards cover not only a child’s basic needs, but also additional expenses. To learn more about what you could be required to pay in child support, please contact one of our experienced child support lawyers for advice.

Calculating Child Support

When deciding how much a parent will be required to pay in child support, courts look at both parties’ incomes, the number of children involved, and all child-related expenses. This includes estimates of the cost of basic necessities, such as food, clothing, housing, and medical care. However, there are usually a number of other expenses associated with raising a child. For example, education-related expenses alone can quickly become overwhelming and could include: private school tuition, uniforms, school supplies, tutors, and fees for after school clubs. These types of costs are usually included in a court’s child support calculation, although other expenses related to recreation, are not always covered. Texas law also does not mandate coverage for a variety of other childcare costs, including expenses for:

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Texas family law attorney, Texas divorce laywer, Texas child support attorney,The child support guideline amounts in Section 154 are presumed to be reasonable. But consider the following situations:

  • The obligor parent is a server at a local restaurant; the obligee parent is an engineer at a large technology company;
  • Father is now financially responsible for three stepchildren after a subsequent remarriage;
  • Mother must travel to another state to see the children because Father relocated with the children;
  • The family includes two preschool children that are in daycare and two school-age children that require after school care; or
  • Because of a child's pre-existing medical condition, insurance is expensive and refuses to cover certain treatments.

The cookie-cutter guidelines might be considered "unjust or inappropriate" under Section 154.123 in any of these situations.

The underlying issue is that Texas is one of only nine percentage-of-income states that determine the amount of support merely from the obligor's income and the number of children before the court. While this formula does encourage predictable and regular results, a straight percentage-of-income calculation leaves no room to account for the unique circumstances of each family. Thus, there is the escape clause in Section 154.123.

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Texas high asset divorce attorney, Texas complex litigaton lawyer, Texas child support lawyer,To determine the amount of child support, the judge mechanically applies the guidelines in Chapter 154 of the Family Code, at least in the vast majority of cases. However, especially if there is a complex child custody dispute, these guidelines are not always reflective of the child's needs. What must a party do to convince a judge to depart from the guidelines, and how is the amount set in these situations?

Unjust or Inappropriate

In the case of Section 154.122, these two words are not synonyms. Instead, they give both the mother and the father a basis to request an increase, or decrease, in child support payments.

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