Child Support Overview

In Texas, child support is calculated based on a percentage of the paying spouse’s (obligor) net income. Texas does not take into consideration the payee spouse’s (obligee) income or the income of the obligor’s spouse. The obligor’s income includes, but is not limited to all of the wages and salaries earned (including tips and overtime), self-employment income, social security or disability benefits, worker’s compensation, retirement benefits, and spousal maintenance (formerly known as alimony). However, social security taxes, income taxes, union dues, and cost of health care are all deducted from the obligor’s income BEFORE calculating child support.

The percentage of the income is calculated from the number of children between the spouses (natural and adopted) and how many other minor or disabled children the obligor has with someone else who he or she is financially supporting. For example, if the obligor and obligee have one child together, and the obligor has one minor or disabled child from a previous relationship for whom the obligor is paying child support, then the percentage of the obligor’s income that goes to child support is 17.50%.

Many believe that if they are unemployed, then they do not have to pay child support.  However, the court can still order child support based on the current minimum wage as if the obligor was employed.

How to Pay Child Support

Child support is most often paid in one of two ways:

  1. the obligor can pay the child support themselves, or
  2. the child support can be withheld from the obligor’s check by their employer.

If the child support is not withheld, the obligor is responsible for sending the child support each month to either the obligee or the Texas State Disbursement Unit. In most cases, child support in Texas is ordered to be paid through the disbursement unit, which is a clearinghouse that receives the payments, credits them to the child support account, and then sends them on to the receiving party. For both parties, this process creates a record that the support was paid. In addition, if the support is not paid or not paid timely, there is a record of that for subsequent enforcement proceedings.

Simple Texas Divorce is a family and divorce law firm offering a flat-fee program for uncontested divorces in the State of Texas. We offer legal representation for individuals residing in Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant Counties. We also offer pro se divorce drafting assistance throughout the state. Our principal office is located in Denton, Texas. We are unable to represent individuals outside the State of Texas.

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