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How is my child support calculated?

In today’s economy, the non-custodial parent in a SAPCR or a divorce case is generally obligated to pay guideline child support and provide health insurance including dental insurance. The obligation can be high and usually creates a financial situation with the non-custodial or obligor that requires a lot of adaptation of his/her budget especially when the non-custodial parent is supporting another family and several other children.
The disposable earnings of the obligor are many times misunderstood. The disposable earnings means the part of the earnings of an individual remaining after the deduction from those earnings of any amount required by law to be withheld, union dues, nondiscretionary retirement contributions, and medical, hospitalization, and disability insurance coverage for the obligor and the obligor’s children.

The question always arises of why all the earnings have to be considered in calculating child support. My response is always that the parties can agree on an amount of child support considering other financial benefits that the children receive from the non-custodial parent.

“Earnings” means a payment to or due an individual, regardless of source and how denominated. The term includes a periodic or lump-sum payment for:
(1) wages, salary, compensation received as an independent contractor, overtime pay, severance pay, commission, bonus, and interest income;
(2) payments made under a pension, an annuity, workers’ compensation, and a disability or retirement program;
(3) unemployment benefits;
(4) compensation from a transportation network company as defined by Section 2402.001, Occupations Code; and
(5) compensation from a person that operates a technology platform used to make deliveries to customers.

“Employer” means a person, corporation, partnership, workers’ compensation insurance carrier, governmental entity, the United States, or any other entity that pays or owes earnings to an individual. The term includes, for the purposes of enrolling dependents in a group health or dental insurance plan, a union, trade association, or other similar organization.

What about the self-employed person. Ideally the self-employed person should have an accounting of their profits and losses to in order for an attorney or a court to determine and calculate the child support obligation.

In many circumstances, the client will want to argue the type of health insurance that is required by Texas law in a SAPCR or a divorce situation. “Health insurance” means insurance coverage that provides basic health care services, including usual physician services, office visits, hospitalization, and laboratory, X-ray, and emergency services, that may be provided through a health maintenance organization or other private or public organization, other than medical assistance under Chapter 32, Human Resources Code.

The withholding for support from earnings is also an issue which creates confusion with the parent who have an obligation to pay child support. The custodial parent does have the right to request that child support be paid via a payroll deduction order. “Judicial writ of withholding” means the document issued by the clerk of a court and delivered to an employer directing that earnings be withheld for payment of child support as provided by Chapter 158.

The child support must also be paid thru a local registry or the State of Texas child support registry. Payments of child support directly to the custodial parent are never the right option. “Local registry” means a county agency or public entity operated under the authority of a district clerk, county government, juvenile board, juvenile probation office, domestic relations office, or other county agency or public entity that serves a county or a court that has jurisdiction under this title and
(1) receives child support payments;
(2) maintains records of child support payments;
(3) distributes child support payments as required by law; and
(4) maintains custody of official child support payment records.

Contact an experience divorce/custody attorney when you are facing a child support order to make sure that you understand the duties and obligations confronting you as the obligor.

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