In Texas, the parent who has custody of a child or children has a right to get support payments from the other spouse. If the parents can’t reach an agreement between themselves, then the Texas family court will make a ruling. There are two key elements to figuring out how much support will be owed. The first is the amount of income each parent has. The second is that Texas uses a formula to determine the amount of support.
The amount of income of each spouse
- Gross income. The amount of gross income each spouse has is where a child support lawyer earns his/her pay. If both spouses work for a traditional employer, then the amount of pay can be made by looking at the pay stubs. If a spouse is self-employed or has income from investments, then it can be much harder to figure the real amount of income. Gross income covers many things. Some of the more common income items are: wages, commissions, overtime pay, tips, bonuses, interest and dividends. A good lawyer will review all the proper records and ask the proper questions to help determine the real income.
- Deductions. There are some bills that have to be paid to figure each spouse’s net income. These bills are subtracted. Typical income bills are Social Security taxes, federal and state income taxes, union dues, medical insurance premiums and mandatory retirement plan bills.
- Expenses. The expenses of the parents are not considered. Focusing on the income makes it much easier to make a ruling. It also avoids having to argue about whether one spouse spends too much for food or drink.
- Duty to pay something. Even if the parent with custody is self-sufficient, the other spouse will have to pay some support. The child’s interest are paramount. The child shouldn’t be hurt because the parents got a divorce.
The basic steps are these:
- Count the number of children.
- Figure out the incomes of each parent.
- Apply the formula.
Your lawyer can explain the formula in more detail. Your lawyer should be able to give you a good idea of what support will be due.
Getting a support award is just the first part of the task for a custodial parent. The paying parent must pay the support. If a spouse doesn’t pay there are remedies. Some of the remedies are:
- The wages may be garnished. This means the employer will pay the support from the paycheck of the non-custodial parent.
- The IRS can withhold refunds.
- Driver’s licenses can be suspended. Professional licenses can be suspended.
- The debtor (the parent with the duty to pay) can be held in contempt and sent to jail.
Change of Circumstances
Sometimes things change. The health of the child or one of the parents may change. The income of one of the spouses may change. If the change is large enough, then the amount of support may change.
Some factors than can impact the support amount are:
- A spouse has children by a different parent.
- The child reaches the age of majority.
- The child goes to college.
We invite you to contact Warren & Migliaccio at 888-584-9614 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your child support matters.