The Family Code provides a statewide uniform guideline formula for child support calculations. This fairly complex formula presumptively yields the appropriate monthly financial support required for children whose parents are separated.
In order to calculate monthly child support using this formula, a few variables need to be determined: (1) the parents’ respective net monthly disposable incomes; (2) the number of children for whom support is being determined; and (3) how much time the children spend with each parent.
Though the information required by the formula seems limited, the determination of an appropriate child support amount is far from simple. Determining monthly income oftentimes involves a more nuanced analysis than simply looking at pay stubs: commissions, bonuses, monthly gifts, rent-free living, and earning capacity (among many other things) can all count as “income.” Even the seemingly simple “timeshare” component can be difficult to accurately determine without the assistance of an attorney.
Further, parties in a child support proceeding will want to ensure that appropriate deductions are taken from their gross monthly income. The impact of a new spouse’s income also often needs to be assessed, as does the effect of children from another relationship.
As child support is owed until the minor reaches the age of eighteen (18) and sometimes beyond, this calculation can have a long-term financial impact on the paying party. It is thus imperative that the calculation be accurate.