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The formula for calculating child support

Under Texas law, the courts use a mathematical formula to determine how much child support noncustodial parents owe to custodial parents for the care of their children. The payments are generally a percentage of the noncustodial parent's income, and it also depends on the number of children for whom the person is paying child support. If noncustodial parents are paying child support for other children, this also influences the final monthly support amount.

The first factor that is put into the equation is net income, which is all of the salary, wages and other compensation that noncustodial parents receive for personal services, including bonuses, tips, commissions and overtime pay. Other earnings that are considered net income are self-employment profits, royalty payments, interest and dividend payments, and rental income. Next, Social Security tax, state income tax, federal income tax, health insurance paid for the children and union dues are deducted from the net income.

If the net income of noncustodial parents is less than $7,500, the amount of their child support payments is 20 percent for one child and 25 percent for two children. The payments increase by 5 percent for each additional child with a maximum of 40 percent. However, this formula is not always used; in cases where noncustodial parents are paying child support for other children -- from a previous marriage, for instance -- the percentage is slightly reduced from 20 percent for one child to 17.5 percent.

The purpose of child support is to ensure that the children of unmarried or divorced parents get the nutrition, shelter, health care and education that they deserve. Noncustodial parents who are self-employed may find the guidance of a lawyer helpful in determining what is included in their net income and which deductions are allowed. If their income varies from month to month, the court may calculate their child support payments based on the average income that they make over a six-month to one-year period.

Source:, "Child Support Calculations", August 26, 2014

Source:, "Child Support Calculations", August 26, 2014

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