Calculating and modifying child support in Texas

Child support in Texas is calculated using a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income, and may be eligible for modification in certain situations.

Children who have parents that are going through a divorce may face some significant changes in life. All children, however, deserve the financial and emotional support of both parents. That is why non-custodial parents in Texas are court-ordered to pay child support. Child support helps to bridge the financial gap that can occur during a divorce, and ensures that the children involved are able to experience a better quality of life.

Texas child support

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Texas calculates the amount of child support owed by using a percentage of the non-custodial parent's income. Unlike states that use the income shares model to calculate child support, the percentage model does not take into account the income of the custodial parent.

When calculating the child support amount, the court will determine how much money the obligator makes. This gross income includes wages, bonuses, tips, interest, social security benefits, annuities and unemployment benefits. Any income received from alimony, gifts and workers' compensation benefits will also be taken into account. Once the amount of income has been established, the court will order a child support payment totaling 20 percent of the parent's total after tax income for one child, 25 percent for two children and so forth, up to 50%. Additional child support may be required in order to cover the child's health care costs, education and daycare expenses.

Modifying a child support order

In some cases, parents who are paying child support may go through unforeseeable circumstances that might prevent them from making their court-ordered child support payments. The Texas Attorney General's office reported that there may be other instances where a child support order may be modified. Such significant changes include the following:

  • The non-custodial parent's income increased significantly
  • The child's need for medical insurance coverage has changed
  • The parenting plan has changed
  • The noncustodial parent has become financially responsible for more children

Additionally, the child support order may be eligible for modification if it has been at least three years since the order was created. The changed amount must also differ by at least 20 percent in order for it to be considered for child support modifications.

Finding legal representation

Whether you are going through a divorce and establishing child support for the first time, or you wish to modify your existing child support order, an attorney may be able to help. A family law attorney who has a thorough knowledge of Texas divorce laws may be helpful in walking you through the process and will ensure that your child receives everything they need and deserve.

Keywords: divorce, child support, calculation, modification