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What is counted as income for child support purposes?


Parents in Round Rock and the greater Austin metro area who do not live together know that child support is going to be part of their lives, as it is well-established both in Texas and the other states that parents have a duty to support their children. What some Texans might not realize is how exactly child support gets figured in this state, as it is a little different from the child support calculation in other states.

Unlike other states, Texas uses a straight up income calculation to establish the proper amount of child support. For a parent who has one child from a relationship and no other children from prior relationships, child support will consist of 20 percent of the person's income less common withholdings like Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. For each additional child, the parent will be expected to pay five percent more of his or her income, with the aggregate support payment amount capped at half the parent's income.

What counts as income in Texas is very broad, such that earning which would not have to be reported on one's federal income taxes would still count as income for child support purposes. Perhaps most obviously, all wages from all jobs will count, with "wages" also including things like commissions, bonuses, etc.

Additionally, investment income from interest and dividends counts, as does all the income a person receives through self-employment. A landlord also has to count his or her rental income by adding all rent payment received and subtracting reasonable operating expenses. Finally, except for Supplemental Security Income, government and private benefits, such as worker's compensation and annuities, will count. Even regular gifts, alimony payments and prize earnings count as income for the purpose of calculating child support.

While the definition of "income" is broad when it comes to calculating support, there is still plenty of room to argue about how much each parent really makes. An experienced Texas family law attorney may be helpful for resolving any disputes.

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