Calculating child support in Texas: What parents should know

Child support payments in Texas are calculated by weighing a variety of factors, including but not limited to the parents' income levels.

When parents decide to dissolve their marriage, they continue to have financial and emotional obligations to their children. Children of divorce are subjected to many changes when their families separate. Child support in Texas is designed to minimize these financial changes, and helps to create a stable environment for the children who are involved in the divorce.

Percentage of income model

Different states use various child support models to calculate the amount of child support that parents are required to pay. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Texas uses a percentage of income model to determine the child support amount. Rather than consider both parents' income when making this calculation, the court-appointed judge will only look at the income of the person who is obligated to pay child support. A percentage of the obligator's income is taken, depending on how many children are involved. The Texas Child Support Guidelines reported that 20 percent of the income is taken for one child, and that percentage increases by 5 percent for each additional child.

Additional considerations

Parents should keep in mind that the final amount of child support that is ordered by the court is ultimately up to the judge's discretion. Every case is different and has unique circumstances surrounding the situation. As a result, the court-appointed judge may look at additional factors in order to make a fair decision. These considerations include:

  • How much time the child spends with each parent
  • The age and health of the child
  • Whether the child has any special medical needs or other disabilities
  • Which parent provides health care insurance for the child
  • The educational needs of the child

Furthermore, both parents may be ordered to split certain expenses. This includes daycare, educational and recreational expenses. Health care costs, such as insurance deductibles, copays and medical treatments that are not covered by insurance, may also be divided between parents.

Modifications

Court-ordered child support is enforced by the Texas Child Support Division. However, there may be a situation where the non-custodial parent could have their child support modified. This usually occurs when the obligator experiences a life-changing event or other unexpected circumstances occur.

Getting legal counsel

Going through a divorce can be emotional, and it can be difficult to make the crucial decisions necessary to dissolve the marriage. An experienced attorney in Texas may be helpful when it comes to exploring your financial options and making those tough decisions in the best interest of the children.