In Texas, child support is usually determined based on a set percentage established by statutory guidelines. This guideline percentage applies to up to $8,550.00 of an individual’s net income as of September 1, 2013. The guideline percentage cannot be applied to the net income beyond this cap. However, the particular needs of a child or children may cause a court to assign a child support amount greater than the guideline percentage, particularly if the child or children have a disability that requires additional funds for care, treatment or education. An individual may also present evidence that demonstrates why the guideline support is beyond their means, and a court may assign a child support amount below the guideline percentage.
A court does not have to look to actual income when setting child support, and may examine an individual’s earning potential when setting the child support amount. Furthermore, a minimum wage presumption can be used by the court to set the child support obligation of an unemployed or underemployed individual. Despite these legal mechanisms, disabled parents with a lower income are often spared from the burden of weighty child support obligations because their disability can reduce their earning potential and prevent the minimum wage presumption from applying to them.
The chart below provides the statutory guideline percentages based on the number of children. Below that is a document, created by the Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division, that provides the net income figures based on an individual’s total income.