How Is Child Support Determined?

In a Texas divorce child support is usually governed by guidelines set forth in the Texas Family Code. These guidelines are unfortunately fairly narrow in scope and enforcement. The guidelines do not (statutorily) take into account the amount of time each parent has physical custody of the child nor the financial circumstances of the parent receiving child support. Likewise, the guidelines as set in the Texas Family Code do not cover what type of other support the noncustodial parent is actually providing the child such as day care, medical expenses and so on.

In general, Texas law provides a mathematical formula to calculate the amount of child support a noncustodial parent owes. This parent will be obligated to pay this child support until the child is 18 years old or graduates from high school whichever is later. If the child turns 18 they must continue to be enrolled in school and comply with minimum attendance requirements in order for the court ordered child support to continue. Court ordered child support will also end if a child is emancipated by marriage or by court order.

Child support may continue indefinitely if the child is considered disabled. Under Texas law a child is considered disabled for the purposes of child support if the child requires substantial parent supervision because of mental or physical disability that renders them incapable of self support and if such disability exists or was known to have been caused before the child's 18th birthday.

The formula for child support is calculated on a percentage of the net income of the noncustodial parent. The percentage varies depending on the number of children for which child support is ordered including other children that the parent is supporting such as children from another marriage.

Under Texas law a noncustodial parent's net income includes 100 of all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services including commissions, overtime, tips etc. It also includes any interest, dividends, royalties, self-employment income, rental income and other income actually being received including severance pay, retirement benefits, pensions etc. it does not include return of principal or capital, accounts Receivable, benefits paid or families with dependent children such as welfare payments or income from a new spouse.

Certain taxes and expenses may be deducted prior to calculating child support. These include Social Security and federal income taxes, state income tax, union dues, and health insurance coverage.

There is actually no law requiring the parent receiving child support to actually spend the money on supporting the child. A court may order child support regardless of whether or not the noncustodial parent has access to the child.

Child Support (Divorce) in Texas Law

Business Corporation Act


security freeze

Civil Practice and Remedies


collections, court ordered judgments, lump sum compensation

Criminal Procedure


duties, restitution, reimbursement, eligibility, exemptions

Education Code


required curriculum

Family Code


suits affecting the parent-child relationship.

Family Code


trust funds, witholding, employer actions, claims, payments,termination, right to attorney, counseling, adjudication, modifications, judgments, probation fees

Family Code


chapter 154 child support

Finance Code


private child support enforcement agencies, exceptions for deliquent payments

Health and Safety Code


pertaining to trusts

Human Resource Code


fees in orange county

Penal Code


criminal non-payment of child support, bad checks written for child support

Probate Code


claims against an estate

Property Code


liens, property exemptions

Transportation Code


use of social security information, license plates, disclosure, license suspension

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John Q. Lawyer

Attorney at Law

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Divorce-Child Support 00000000