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How Child Support is Calculated in Texas

Navigating the complexities of child support calculations can be unnerving for Texas parents facing the realities of divorce or separation. Understanding the legal framework and the factors influencing these calculations is crucial for ensuring the well-being and financial security of children involved. Whether you’re just beginning to explore the intricacies of child support or seeking to understand your obligations and rights, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge needed to navigate this critical aspect of family law in Texas and considerations that determine the financial contributions required from non-custodial parents.

Understanding Texas Child Support Laws and Guidelines

The state of Texas uses child support standards as a basis for determining how much to pay in child support. A minimum amount of support is determined by the guidelines and is dependent on the obligor’s net monthly income. Although there are defined percentages for various child counts, the court has the discretion to vary in cases where there are exceptional circumstances.

Average Monthly Child Support for one Child in Texas

Many people want to know what the average monthly child support is for parents in Texas. Child support payments are calculated based on percentages of monthly income. The average payment will vary quite a bit depending upon the income of the parent making the child support payments. Below is Texas’ child support calculation percentages based on the number of children the obligor is making support payments for. To estimate your monthly payment, multiply your net monthly income by the applicable percentage below.

Texas Child Support Income Guidelines:

  • One child: 20% of Net Monthly Income
  • Two children: 25%
  • Three children: 30%
  • Four children: 35%
  • Five children: 40%
  • Six or more children: No less than 40%

How Texas Courts Calculate Monthly Income for Child Support

A thorough evaluation is required to determine the obligor’s net monthly income. It includes a wide range of factors:

  • wages
  • salary
  • royalties
  • self-employment
  • interests
  • dividends
  • net rental income
  • severance
  • retirement
  • pension
  • social security
  • unemployment
  • disability
  • workers’ compensation
  • other income received

In these calculations, the court will subtract Social Security taxes, federal income tax, state income tax, union dues, and the child’s health insurance expenses.

The court also has the authority to determine income from the obligor’s earning capacity in cases of unemployed or underemployed. This means that the court can compute income based on what the obligor’s net income should be.

When Child Support Ends in Texas

When a child reaches the age of 18 or, if later, graduates from high school, the child support obligation usually ends. The court may grant permanent support if the child is disabled.

Exceptions and Adjustments to Child Support Guidelines

To guarantee equity, the court considers several items beyond financial resources, including the child’s need, possession time, and health. It is possible to deviate from the standards, particularly if the demonstrated needs are beyond the allocated sum. Education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities are all examples of requirements that can qualify for an exception.

Child Support for Adult Disabled Children

A disabled child’s support could last forever if they need a lot of help and monitoring. A child’s capacity to manage their own affairs is a factor in the court’s determination of indefinite maintenance.

Medical Child Support

Aside from monetary support, the court could also mandate that one parent provide health insurance for the children.

Retroactive Support

If the debtor has not paid their support for the four years leading up to the support petition, the court may order them to do so even after the child is older than 18 years.

Major Life Event

In the event of a major life event, like the loss of a job or a move, adjustments may be necessary. Enforcement is handled by the Texas Child Support Division, and in certain cases, adjustments can be requested through the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Division.


When one parent’s net monthly resources are $1,000 or less, the Texas law that governs child support payments sets a lesser proportion. To make it easier financially for obligors with lower incomes, certain percentages are more forgiving.

As you can see, there are many considerations that go into determining child support payments in the Texas Court System. However, if you have a general knowledge of the calculations and guidelines it will not only help you create your own child support payment estimations, it will help you understand the child support evaluation process so that you may advocate for your child and yourself for a logical child support agreement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Child Support in Texas

What is child support in Texas?

A parent who is not physically present with their child is legally obligated to pay child support to the parent who has primary physical custody of the child.

How is child support calculated in Texas?

The obligor’s (paying parent’s) net income is used to assess child support according to the Texas Child Support Guidelines. The computation is also affected by the total number of children.

When does child support end in Texas?

The usual end date for child support payments in Texas is the child’s 18th birthday or the completion of high school, whichever comes first. Support for children with disabilities can last forever.

Can child support orders be modified?

In the event of a substantial change in circumstances, such as a change in the child’s needs, a change in employment, or a move, it is possible to modify a child support order.

How are additional expenses handled in child support cases?

Expenses beyond the basic child support amount may be shared by the parents, such as those for healthcare, education, and entertainment.

Are there low-income guidelines for child support in Texas?

To make sure that low-income parents get equitable child support computations, Texas does, in fact, have rules for such cases.

Can child support be ordered retroactively in Texas?

It is possible for the court to mandate payment of child support for the four years prior to the support petition. A person’s net worth during that time determines the amount.

How is monthly income calculated for child support?

Wages, overtime, bonuses, and retirement benefits are all part of a person’s monthly income that can be used to calculate child support. From this amount, certain deductions, such as taxes and health insurance, are subtracted.

Can a child support order be challenged or changed?

A substantial change in circumstances is required for a parent to request a modification of child support. Factors such as a change in the custody arrangement, a change in employment, or a move may prompt the court to consider modifications.

Why seek legal assistance for child support matters?

Difficulty arises in child support proceedings. Help from a law firm like Goldsberry, Portz & Lutterbie, PLLC, guarantees competent representation, compliance with applicable laws, and well-informed decision-making.

For more personalized information and guidance, consult with our experienced family law attorneys at Goldsberry, Portz & Lutterbie, PLLC.

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