Child support awards in Texas are in general established by a mathematical formula. The amount of support that a noncustodial parent may be ordered to pay depends in part on how many other children the parties have together. Parents making less than $7,500 a month have a guideline support amount of 20 percent of their income for one child, with the amount increasing in increments of 5 percent for each additional child up to six. A noncustodial parent with six children may generally not be ordered to pay anything less than 40 percent of his or her income.
In order to determine a parent’s income, the court will consider the parent’s wages and salary, interest, dividends and royalty income, self-employment income, net rental income, and any other income that may come in the form of employee benefits, such as Social Security or retirement benefits. If a parent remarries, the new spouse’s income will not be considered as part of the parent’s income.
Taxes, union dues and health care coverage may be deductible from a parent’s income in determining his or her payment amount. If a parent’s income is variable, the court may look at the parent’s average income over the course of six months to a year. If an individual goes through a material and substantial change in economic circumstances, that person may request an adjustment to the support order in court.
Child custody modifications may not be made retroactively for past-due payments, so parents may want to go to court as soon as they know of any change in their income or if they know of any other factors that would call for a change in support. Parents may also want to speak with an attorney about support modifications if there is a change in guardianship, custodial time or other changes in circumstances, such as a noncustodial parent being called to active duty.
Source: Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, “Child Support Calculations“, September 16, 2014