The Department of Child Support Services and the court follow the child support guidelines defined by state law in Family Code Section 4055. This state law provides a standard mathematical formula for determining the amount of child support.
Each parent is expected to pay for the support of the child(ren) according to his/her ability. To determine the proper child support amount, the court uses a “Statewide Uniform Guideline Formula.” The most important components of the formula are the number of children involved, the parents’ incomes, and the amount of time each parent is responsible for the child (“timeshare”).
The guideline formula uses both parents’ average, after-tax income, from any source. Income is money from almost any source including, but not limited to:
- Wages (including tips, bonuses, commissions)
- Interest income on savings accounts and other investments
- Unemployment benefits
- Certain disability payments
- Worker's Compensation
- The judge may consider the amount of money a parent is capable of earning, instead of the parent’s actual income.
The following are deducted from earnings:
- mandatory union dues and retirement contributions
- health insurance
- child and spousal support actually being paid
The court may allow deductions such as:
- job-related expenses
- extraordinary health expenses
- uninsured catastrophic losses
- minimum basic living expenses of either parent’s other child(ren)
The more time a parent spends taking care of a child, the lower their required financial contribution. Spending time taking care of the child is considered to be support of the child, and therefore that parent’s financial contribution is lowered for that child.
It is important to understand that child support is not retroactive, prior to the date of filing or service. The department will only be able to collect arrears (past-due child support) based on child support that was previously ordered.
To access the Statewide Guideline Calculator, click here.
The Arrears Payment Estimator is an amortization tool that prospectively calculates an estimated pay-off summary and pay-off date for the past-due balances you owe if the monthly arrears payment is consistently received on the first of every month.
In order for the tool to work accurately, please enter your past-due balances, which are listed on the monthly billing notice you receive:
- Total Principal Balance
- Total Interest Balance
- Total Monthly Payment Amount due for Past Support
- Agreement Date – Month of Billing Notice
Arrears Payment Disclaimer
This calculation is an estimate and is not intended as an accounting of your child support case. If you have questions regarding your child support case, please contact us at 866-901-3212.
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