Here at Blizzard and Zimerman Attorneys we don’t work on Child Support related issues.
If your ex is not paying or has income changes, etc, please contact the Texas Attorney General’s Office Child Support Enforcement division here for free help.
There may be some confusion along the way regarding child support, so we wanted to provide some of the information here for you to help. You can also find out more information on the Texas Attorney General’s website “Getting Started with Child Support”. This section outlines everything you need to know to get started with your child support case.
If you have children in your divorce case, child support is one of the many issues you will resolve.
Here in Texas in your divorce involving children, your child support rate is based on the paying parent’s “net resources”.
Who Pays Child Support?
The parent who does not have primary possession of the children must pay child support to the parent who has primary possession.
This financial support is an obligation that parents have to their children.
Child support cannot be withheld even if the parent who is paying it has been prevented from seeing the child.
Child support cannot be enforced until paternity is established.
When Does Child Support End?
Here in Texas the court “may order either or both parents to support a child” until:
- Through high school graduation or when the child turns 18 (the latter of the two)
- The child gets married.
- The disabilities of the child are removed, these are restrictions the state places on a child’s legal capacity.
- Or, unfortunately, the child dies.
If there is more than one child involved, the child support will gradually reduce as each child turns 18 or graduates from high school or turns 18 (the latter of the two).
Note that the court may order a parent to pay child support indefinitely if a child is physically or mentally disabled in a way that prevents the child from becoming self-sufficient.
How is Child Support Calculated in Texas?
Texas law provides a number of guidelines.
All income you actually receive counts toward this calculation, including:
Your salary and wage income, tips, overtime, any bonuses, & commissions;
- Business and Self-employment income
- Royalty income, interest, and dividends
- Retirement benefits, social security, and pensions
- Disability, unemployment, and worker’s compensation benefits
- Annuities, trust income, and capital gains
- Gifts and prizes
- Net rental income
- Child support you receive that is paid for children from another marriage
If you have multiple sources of income, you may need to combine these to figure out your income for child support purposes.
These are NOT CONSIDERED as income for child support purposes:
- Income or resources of a new spouse if you remarry
- Accounts receivable
- Return of capital or principal
- Foster care payments
- Benefits paid from federal assistance programs
If the court decides that you are intentionally unemployed or underemployed, the court can assign a higher income to you for the purpose of child support.
So, the court will calculate your income based on your earning potential…rather than your actual earnings.
Calculate Your Income
Once the court adds all sources of income together, it will subtract the following items to calculate your net income:
- Federal and state income taxes
- Social security taxes or non-discretionary retirement plan contributions
- Union dues
- The amount you spend on health and dental insurance and uninsured medical expenses for the children
The court divides your yearly net income by 12 to get your monthly net income.
Child Support Calculation
There are two ways the court may calculate child support under the guidelines, depending on whether your net income is above a certain amount.
This amount changes every six years based on inflation. In 2022 it is currently $9,200 per month.
If your income is $9,200 or less you are required to pay a percentage of your total net income based on the number of children you have:
1 child = 20% of net resources
2 children = 25% of net resources
3 children = 30% of net resources
4 children = 35% of net resources
5 children = 40% of net resources
6+ children = at least 40% of net resources
If your income is more than $9,200, then your child support will be the greater of:
- The same percentage you would pay above, but applied to only your first $9,200 of net income
- Or up to 100% of your children’s actual needs
The guidelines are presumed to calculate a support amount that is in the best interest of the child. It is, however, possible for a court to order more or less support than provided in these guidelines.
This will happen only if the court finds that the amount prescribed by the guidelines is “unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances.”
To deviate from the guidelines, the court will consider a long list of factors listed in the Texas Family Code section on Child Support.
You may also use a Texas child support calculator from the Texas Attorney General’s Office to determine the amount of support you will pay.