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Child support

determining payments

Most states have child support guidelines in their statutes—often in the statutes collected in the state’s family code. These child support guidelines provide percentages and methods of calculating child support payments based on the number of children; the parents’ incomes and financial resources; the income and needs of the custodial parent; the needs of the children, including any special needs; and the standard of living for the children before the parents’ divorce or separation. The child support guidelines are just guidelines, and the court generally has discretion to order more or less child support based on the best interest of the children.

In Texas, child support guidelines are established by the Texas Family Code, which provides a systematic method for calculating child support payments. These guidelines are primarily based on the non-custodial parent's income and the number of children requiring support. The basic percentage of the non-custodial parent's net resources required for child support starts at 20% for one child and increases by 5% for each additional child, up to a maximum of 40% for five or more children. The court may also consider other factors such as the income and financial resources of both parents, the needs and standard of living of the children prior to the separation or divorce, and any special needs of the children. While these guidelines are in place to ensure consistency and predictability in child support orders, Texas courts have the discretion to deviate from these guidelines if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the child. Such deviations may result in higher or lower payments than the guideline amounts.

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