Like other states, Texas has a set of Child Support Guidelines that its family courts will use in order to establish how much financial support each parent has responsibility for.
These Guidelines are supposed to ensure that parents in the greater Houston area pay similar amounts of support if they have similar family situations.
As such, they involve the plugging in of numbers into a formula which will generate a child support payment. As a starting point, the court will presume that payment amount is appropriate.
However, the formula does not always guarantee the process will be easy. Many times, for example, a couple may disagree about what numbers should go into the formula in the first place.
The definition of “resources” covers a lot of types of income
Texas relies heavily on each parent’s net resources in order to determine an appropriate child support payment. The definition of net resources is broad. In addition to normal wages, resources include bonuses, commissions, and tips. The definition also includes a lot more than just the income a person receives from a job.
For example, if a person is in business for herself, the court will have to review her business records to calculate the profit she received. While the expectation is she will pay support based on her profits, there can be significant disagreements about the business’s income and legitimate expenses.
Some items that are not subject to income taxes are nonetheless counted as resources for child support purposes. For example, a parent who is receiving gifts, including support from relatives, may have to pay child support on those gifts.
Basic child support does not cover all expenses
While child support is supposed to pay for a parent’s share of typical expenses involved with raising a child, the amount under the Guidelines will not pay for everything. In some cases, a parent may wish to ask the court to require the other parent to pay his share of what the law calls extraordinary expenses.
Extraordinary expenses may include, for example, the extra costs associated with raising a special needs child.