Galveston County Child Support Lawyer
In Texas, all biological parents are required to support their minor children financially, both during and after a marriage. Most child support agreements are reached as a part of a divorce proceeding, but courts can also order payment when a child’s parents are unmarried. Child support orders can significantly impact all parties to a divorce or separation, so if you or a loved one are considering a divorce, it is important to contact an experienced Galveston County child support lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process.
How To Calculate Child Support
Theoretically, a child support order is based on the amount that the court deems would be in each child’s best interest. To make this calculation easier, however, the Texas Legislature provided a formula that requires parents to calculate their annual gross income, which includes adding up the following:
- All earned income;
- Compensation for personal services, such as commissions, overtime pay, and tips;
- Interest and dividends;
- Net rental income;
- Any income earned through self-employment; and
- Any other income actually received, such as social security and disability benefits, gifts, child support, spousal maintenance, and severance pay.
The gross income is then divided by twelve, which reveals the parent’s average monthly gross income. The court then subtracts the following amounts from that total:
- Union dues;
- Social security taxes;
- State income taxes;
- Federal income taxes paid for a single person; and
- The cost of the child’s health insurance or medical support.
The result is the parent’s monthly net resources, out of which he or she must pay a certain percentage depending on the number of children that must be supported. If the couple has one child, 20 percent of the non-custodial parent’s income will be allocated for the child’s support. Other relevant percentages are as follows:
- Two children = 25 percent;
- Three children = 30 percent;
- Four children = 35 percent;
- Five children = 40 percent; and
- Six children = at least 40 percent.
If the parent makes more than $7,500 a month, the child support calculation will only apply to the first $7,500. The court can then increase the amount of child support based on proof of the child’s needs, which can include:
- Extra medical costs; and
- Extracurricular activities.
Modifying Child Support
If a parent believes that a child support payment is too high or too low, he or she can ask the court to make an adjustment based on a change in circumstances. When determining whether an adjustment is appropriate, courts may consider the following factors:
- The age and needs of the child;
- The parents’ ability to provide for the child;
- The amount of time each parent has access to the child;
- Whether there are child care expenses incurred by either parent in order to maintain employment;
- Whether either party has other children;
- The amount of spousal maintenance being paid;
- The child’s education expenses;
- Whether either party has a car, housing, or other benefits provided by another person;
- Whether the child has special health needs;
- The cost of travel required to have access to the child; and
- Whether either party has any debts.
If you are considering a divorce, our experienced Galveston County child support lawyers can help you determine how much you are likely to receive in child support payments. We can also explain your options if you are attempting to collect unpaid child support.
Paternity and Child Support
When two parents were never married and choose to separate, they will still need to go through the legal process of making child custody arrangements. This often requires an establishment of paternity, which can be done voluntarily or through court-ordered DNA testing.
Contact a Galveston County Child Support Lawyer Today
Parenthood comes with certain duties, which includes providing financial support for any minor children, so if you live in Galveston County and are considering a divorce, please contact the law firm of Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. by calling 281-486-6116 and we will help you set-up a one-on-one consultation with an experienced child support lawyer.