If you are planning to pursue a divorce that involves minor children in McKinney, Texas, one of the most important aspects of the divorce for both parties will likely be the determination of child support. Divorce clearly has an emotional impact on everyone involved; however, the financial impact of a divorce cannot be forgotten as well. Whether you are the party who will be paying child support, or the party who will be receiving support, you have a vested interest in understanding how child support works in Texas. Because of the unique nature of a divorce proceeding it is always in your best interest to consult directly with an experienced Texas divorce attorney with specific questions. In an effort to provide some general guidance, however, a McKinney father’s rights lawyer explains how child support is typically calculated in Texas.
The amount of legal jargon a party must learn when involved in the court system can be intimidating – yet essential to a full understanding of the issues. First, the terms “conservator” and “possession and access” need to be explained. In Texas, the “conservator” of a minor child has the legal right to make major decisions regarding the child. You can be granted sole or joint conservator of a minor child. “Possession and access” refers to with whom the child physically lives the majority of the time. If you are the parent in possession of the child, it means the child resides with you most of the time. When the issue being discussed is child support, you also need to know the difference between the obligor and obligee. The obligor is the person who is ordered to pay child support and is almost always the parent who is not the parent in possession of the child. The obligee is the parent who receives the child support and is almost always the parent who is in possession of the child. Finally, when child support is discussed, the term “Guidelines” is often heard. “Guidelines” refers to the Texas Child Support Guidelines that were established by law and that help determine how much a party is ordered to pay in child support. Although it is possible to deviate from the Guidelines, they are “presumed to be reasonable and an order of support conforming to the guidelines is presumed to be in the best interest of the child.”
Determining how much child support a party will be obligated to pay begins with determining the party who will be paying, or the obligor’s, net month income. Net income is arrived at by taking a party’s gross monthly income and deducting any legally allowable deductions. In this case, “deductions” refers to things the law specifically allows for child support purposes, not deductions allowable for tax purposes. Once net income is established, the Guidelines will calculate the party’s child support obligation based on the number of children involved using one of two methods, depending on the amount of net income involved. For most people, the following calculations are used:
One child= 20 percent of Net Monthly Income
Two children = 25 percent of Net Monthly Income
Three children = 30 percent of Net Monthly Income
Four children = 35 percent of Net Monthly Income
Five children = 40 percent of Net Monthly Income
Six children = no less than 40 percent of Net Monthly Income.
For high earners, you will pay 20 percent up to a certain amount and then an additional amount may be added on top of that if the oblige can prove that the child(ren) has a legitimate need for the additional support.
At first glance it appears that child support s rather straight-forward in Texas. Sometimes that is the case; however, if you anticipate that you will be ordered to pay child support in your divorce, it is always best to consult with an experienced lawyer before a child support order has been entered because making changes after the fact is difficult.
If you have additional questions or concerns about how child support is determined in a Texas divorce, contact an experienced McKinney father’s rights lawyer at The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd to schedule your appointment today.