Child support calculations in Texas follow specific guidelines. These regulations help ensure fair and consistent financial support when parents divorce or separate.
State courts consider various factors to determine the appropriate amount of child support.
Noncustodial parent income
The foundation of child support calculations in Texas is the income of the noncustodial parent, also known as the obligor. The court looks at the obligor’s monthly gross income, which includes wages, bonuses, commissions and other forms of income.
Review of net resources
Next, the judge makes certain deductions from gross income to arrive at the obligor’s net resources. Deductions may include federal or state income taxes, Social Security taxes and health insurance premiums. The goal is to determine the income available for child support.
Percentage of net income
Texas uses a percentage-based system to calculate child support. The court applies the percentage to the obligor’s net income. The specific percentage depends on the number of children requiring support.
For obligors with high incomes, the percentage-based system may not fully capture the child’s needs. In such cases, the court has the discretion to consider additional factors. Examples include the child’s proven needs, the obligor’s ability to pay and the standard of living prior to divorce.
Adjustments for other expenses
The court may require the obligor to contribute to the child’s health insurance premiums and unreimbursed medical expenses. The judge can also adjust for childcare costs related to the custodial parent’s employment or education.
Other child support considerations may include travel costs for visitation, extracurricular activities and educational expenses. More than 1.6 million children in Texas collectively received $4.8 billion in child support in 2020 alone.
Child support orders in Texas are subject to periodic review and modification. Either parent can request a modification to ensure that child support reflects the current circumstances.