Texas Child Support Calculations

Each state requires a noncustodial parent (whose child lives with the other parent most of the time) to pay a fair amount of child support in order to cover the basic needs of their child. While this is paid to the custodial parent, the money is strictly to be used for a child's expenses (directly and indirectly). While states cooperate across state lines in the event of unpaid support obligations, each has its own method of determining child support and collecting payments. Texas, like other states, requires noncustodial parents to pay a certain percentage of their net resources in child support (based on the number of children needing support).

The Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General's Office can help locate absent parents, establish paternity, establish child support orders, enforce payment, and other such services. The following information is meant to help Texas parents calculate their child support amounts.

Texas Child Support Calculations: The Basics

Determining how much you may need to pay (or how much your child will receive) in child support payments each month can seem like a daunting task. While it's best to work with an experienced family law attorney, the following summary of how child support is calculated in Texas will help you cut through the legal jargon and get a handle on your case.

Statutes

Texas Family Code Section 154.001, et seq. (Support of Child)

Net Resources Calculated for Determination of Child Support Liability

When determining child support amounts, the court will consider the following sources of income:

  • All wages, salary income, and other compensation (including commissions, tips, bonuses, and overtime pay);
  • Interest, dividends, and royalty income;
  • Self-employment income;
  • Net rental income (rent after deduction of expenses and mortgage payments); and
  • All other income being received, such as severance pay, retirement income, pensions, trust income, annuities, capital gains, Social Security benefits (other than supplemental security income), unemployment benefits, VA disability benefits, disability benefits, workers' compensation benefits, gifts, prizes, and alimony.

The following are not considered net resources for the purpose of calculating child support amounts:

  • Return of principal or capital (money lent out for investment purposes);
  • Accounts receivable;
  • Benefits paid in accordance with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program or other federal public assistance; and
  • Payments for foster care of a child.

Deductions

The court will deduct the following items when determining net resources available for child support payments:

  • Social Security taxes;
  • Federal income taxes (based on the tax rate for a single person claiming 1 personal exemption and the standard deduction);
  • State income taxes;
  • Union dues;
  • Expenses for the cost of health insurance, dental insurance, or cash medical support for the child(ren) as ordered by the court; and
  • Nondiscretionary retirement plan contributions (if the noncustodial parent does not pay Social Security taxes).

Calculation of Health Care and/or Dental Coverage

If the noncustodial parent has other minor dependents covered under the same health or dental insurance plan, the court will divide the total cost of the plan by the total number of dependents in order to determine amount of deduction.

Proof of Income

In order to prove your sources of income for the calculation of child support, the court will require the noncustodial parent to:

  1. Provide information to accurately identify net resources and ability to pay child support; and
  2. Provide copies of income taxes for the past 2 years, a complete financial statement, and current pay stubs.

If the actual income of the noncustodial parent is significantly less than what they could earn because of intentional unemployment or underemployment, the court may base amounts on earning potential (called "imputed income") instead of actual income.

Monthly Child Support Calculator

While the court will have the final say on child support amounts, the Office of the Attorney General of Texas provides a Monthly Child Support Calculator to help you get a general idea.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Texas Child Support Calculations: Related Resources

Need Help Paying or Receiving Child Support? An Attorney Can Help

While the courts will decide how much the noncustodial parent will pay in the final child support order, it's important to understand the process and how these amounts are determined. If you need help paying or receiving child support, an experienced Texas family law attorney can help protect the interests of you and your child.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.