Many divorced or unmarried parents may be required to pay or entitled to receive child support. In most cases, the custodial parent, or the party who spends the most time with the child, has the option to request financial support from the other parent. However, there are many factors that go into determining not only who may receive child support but how much a parent must pay.
These payments can impact both parents’ finances for many years to come. Because of the complexity and nature of this topic, it is important to speak to an experienced West Lale Hills child support lawyer in these situations. Our knowledgeable family attorneys could address any questions or concerns that you may have about your support payments.
Child Support and Income
One of the main factors that courts look at when they determine child support is the income levels of both parents. It is important to note that income includes not only regular earnings but also tips, commission, overtime, military benefits, bonuses, and unemployment benefits as well. If a parent is recovering wage loss compensation through workers’ compensation, that could also influence the amount of support they owe or receive. In some cases, courts may even include certain assets as a portion of one parent’s income.
After reducing to account for taxes, union dues, and certain health insurance premiums attributable to the children, courts look at the net income. If a parent has other children whom they financially support, the court takes this into consideration before reaching the net income amount. A West Lake Hills lawyer could review a parent’s income and assets and determine if they may be required to pay child support.
Determining Support Amounts in West Lake Hills
Courts have a great deal of control over the support amount. In fact, while parents may choose to pay more support than they owe, they cannot pay less than the court requires, even if both parents agree to the lower amount. This is because the financial support belongs to the child and is not the custodial parent’s right to give up.
The parents’ income is not the only factor that the court looks at when determining child support. Other important factors include the amount of time a child spends with each parent, the children’s needs, and the parties’ debts. A parent who has the children 80 percent of the time will likely receive more support than a parent who has the children 50 percent of the time if all other factors are equal.
Of course, paying for three children instead of one may lead to higher payments as well. In Texas, unless one of the above factors dramatically modifies the amounts, a parent who owes child support typically owes twenty percent of their net income if they have one child. The percent increases by five percent for each additional child up to five children. The maximum percentage is 40, which will apply to five or more children.
In cases where a parent earns an exceptionally high salary, the numbers may differ as well. Anyone with questions about how these systems apply in their child support case should speak to a West Lake Hills attorney.
Contact a West Lake Hills Attorney
If you are trying to work out child support payments or collect support from another parent, you may need legal help. Contact a West Lake Hills child support lawyer to discuss your case. Our team could fight for a fair agreement that protects your finances and future.