Understanding How Child Support is Determined in Texas

January 20, 2018

In Texas, judges decide the amount of monthly child support to be paid using a three-step process. Some parts of this process are very straightforward, other parts are more subjective. Often times, it results in the amount of child support ordered being ‘up to the judge’, or within the judge’s discretion.

Calculating Child Support in Texas

Although the Texas Family Code provides guidelines for judges to create child support amounts, often times the ‘guideline amount’ is not appropriate, and the judge decides on the final amount of child support. This may occur if the child’s needs exceed the ‘guideline amount’ of child support.

First, the judge must calculate the net monthly resources of the child support payor. To calculate the available net income, take monthly income and subtract all federal and state taxes for a single person claiming only theirself, social security taxes, union dues, state income taxes, and health insurance expenses for the child(ren) who is the subject of the suit. This will result in the net monthly resources.

Next, the court applies the child support guidelines. In Texas, if the payor’s only children in the world are those in the case, the child support payor can expect to pay:

  • 20% of their net income for one child,
  • 25% of their net income for two children,
  • 30% of their net income for three children,
  • 35% of their net income for four children,
  • 40% of their net income for five children, and
  • Not less than 40% of your net income for six or more children.

However, this doesn’t mean that this is necessarily what the child support amount will be. The judge MAY, if properly requested, consider any other factors that might justify deviation from the guidelines. The judge will review things like:

  • The age and needs of the child,
  • Any educational expenses for the child,
  • The child’s health insurance,
  • Whether either parent has other children,
  • How long the child spends with each parent,
  • The receiving parent’s net income and earning potential,
  • Any spousal support,
  • Cash flow or debts from either parent,
  • Any other items that may provide guidance for the best interest of the child,
  • Or other factors not listed here.

After completing this three-step process, the judge will decide the monthly child support amount. The most important takeaway from this blog is that you shouldn’t have to go through this life-altering process alone. Attorney Cheryl Alsandor is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She and her legal team are ready to guide you through this process. To find out how our team can help, click here or call (713) 661-9783.

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