In Texas, child support is almost always ordered in divorces, paternity or modification cases involving children. Usually, the parent given the exclusive right to determine the child’s residence is paid child support by the other parent. The parent who pays child support is also usually ordered to provide health insurance for the child or pay for the cost of that insurance. The most commonly asked questions about child support in Texas are answered below:
Who has to pay child support?
Usually, the parent who does not have primary possession of the child will be ordered to pay child support.
How long does child support last?
Support is due for each child until his or her 18th birthday (or graduation from high school after the 18th birthday). The support obligation ends if the child dies or is married before age 18. Child support can be ordered past the 18th birthday only for severely disabled children.
How is the amount of child support calculated?
In Texas, child support is calculated based on a percentage of net income (call “net resources” in the Texas Family Code). The basic steps to calculate child support are to:
- Determine an average monthly gross income for the parent who is to pay child support. Gross pay is total income before any taxes, insurance, 401k, etc. are deducted. Gross income can include pay, salary, bonuses, overtime, commissions, investment income, and rental income. Attorneys and judges usually look at the prior year’s total gross income as well as the current year-to-date gross income shown on the most recent paystub.
- Monthly net resources are calculated using a tax table updated annually by the Texas Attorney General. Click here to see the current Tax Charts.
- Credit is given for the cost of providing health insurance for the child.
- The adjusted net income per month is multiplied by a percentage depending on how many children are involved as follows:
|No. of Children||Percent of Net Resources|
|6 or more||not less than 40%|
A parent who is paying child support for kids in different households may pay according to slightly different percentages.
Does it matter if my ex-spouse earns a lot of money or has remarried someone with a lot money?
The above percentages are almost always followed for people making less than $8,550 net income a month, no matter how well-off the parent with primary custody is. For example, if a husband is ordered to pay child support for two kids, he will probably owe 25% of his net monthly resources, even if his ex-wife makes a lot of money or has married a rich guy. On the other hand, if the husband remarries, his new wife’s income will not be considered in setting child support.
How is child support calculated for folks who net more than $8,550 month?
The percentages set forth above will usually be applied to the first $8,550 of the Net Resources of the parent paying support. Above that, any additional support must be based on the incomes of the parents and the actual needs of the children.
How are child support payments made?
Usually, child support is deducted from wages once a divorce is granted. In Harris County and in Galveston County, temporary child support can be deducted from pay checks. In almost all cases, parents who write support checks send them to State’s child support office in San Antonio. Click here for a sheet that explains in detail how child support is paid.
Who pays for my child’s health insurance?
In most cases, the parent who pays child support also provides or pays for the child’s health coverage. Usually, parents are ordered to split any uninsured medical expenses for the children.
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