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What sources of income count toward child support?

Divorce is full of complicated and confusing matters, one of which is child support. Not only do couples argue over who should have to pay child support but also how much the ex-spouse should have to pay. Even for those who were never married, ending a relationship that resulted in children still involves discussing child support.

Whether you are the one seeking payments or the one who will have to pay, you need to understand how the state determines child support so you can avoid errors and unfair payment amounts. Many factors go into the calculation, but the basic idea is that it relies on income.

Calculation of child support in Texas

In Texas, child support payments are a percentage of the obligor's monthly net resources. The court determines net income by taking the parent's gross income and deducting certain financial obligations, such as taxes, health insurance and union dues.

The percentage goes up with the number of children. For example, one child would require 20 percent of the parent's net monthly resources whereas two children would require 25 percent.

What counts as income?

Because child support depends on gross income, it is vital to know what the state means by the term. Income is more than just the money that comes from standard paychecks or self-employment. When it comes to child support in Texas, it also includes the following:

  • Bonuses, commissions and tips
  • Severance pay
  • Workers' compensation
  • Dividends, interest and annuities
  • Royalties
  • Retirement benefits
  • Government benefits (such as Social Security)
  • Prizes and gifts
  • Spousal support

Resources do not include federal public assistance, foster care payments, accounts receivable, or returns on capital or principle. It is important to use the right income to ensure accurate and fair child support payments. Changes in income may warrant a modification of the payment amount, as well as other factors, such as a significant alteration in custody arrangements.

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