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Texas Child Support Overview

Calculating and Paying Child Support

In Texas, child support payments are calculated based on a percentage of the paying spouse’s (obligor) net income. Texas child support law 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 the wages and salaries earned (including tips and overtime),
  • Self-employment income
  • Social Security or disability benefits
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Retirement benefits
  • Spousal maintenance (formerly known as alimony)

Texas child support

Social Security taxes, income taxes, union dues, and health care costs 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 17.5%.

What is the New Law for Child Support in Texas?

The maximum child support payment for one child in Texas is capped at 20% of the payer's income for 2021. After that, child support increases depending on the number of children involved. Those caps are also used to protect the payer or Non-Custodial Parent.

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

Do you have questions about child support payments in Texas? Contact us online or call (940) 236-0972 today!

Does Texas Automatically Review Child Support Every 3 Years?

Yes, Texas automatically reviews child support every three years. This review is called the Child Support Review Process (CSRP). The CSRP is an in-office negotiation process between the parents and a Child Support Officer (CSO). The goal of the CSRP is to update the child support order to reflect the most recent information about the parents' incomes and expenses.

If the parents can agree on a new child support amount, the CSO will prepare a new order and submit it to the court for approval. If the parents cannot agree on a new child support amount, the CSO will set a hearing date for the court to decide the issue.

The CSRP is a voluntary process, but it is generally in the best interests of the parents and the children to participate. In addition, the CSRP is a more efficient and less expensive way to update a child support order than going to court.

How to Make Child Support Payments in Texas

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

  1. The obligor pays the child support themselves
  2. The child support is 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.

Learn more about child support payments by calling our Texas divorce attorneys at (940) 236-0972.

Commonly Asked Questions

What Happens If the Obligor Is Unemployed?

If the obligor is unemployed, the court can still order child support based on the current minimum wage as if the obligor were employed. This ensures that the child receives financial support regardless of the obligor's employment status. The court aims to provide for the child's needs, and being unemployed does not exempt the obligor from this responsibility.

How Long Do Child Support Payments Last in Texas?

In the state, child support ends when the last child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever of the two comes later. However, if your child has a disability, child support payments may last longer. Lastly, if your child turns 18 and you still owe back child support, payments will continue until the debt and interest is fully paid.

Start Your Simple Texas Divorce Application Now

If you have lived in Texas for fewer than 6 months, then you do not qualify for a Simple Texas Divorce due to residence limitations. If you have lived in Texas longer than six months, then the following questions will apply: