Understanding Child Support in Texas: An Overview of the Basics

Katelyn Morgan

Parental obligations to provide financial assistance for their children’s needs are of paramount importance. Child support is mandated by law in Texas, as it is in many other states, to guarantee that children have access to the financial resources they need to develop and succeed in life. Knowing the fundamentals of Texas’s child support legislation is crucial if you’re a parent who’s dealing with child support concerns.

This article gives a high-level summary of child support in Texas, including its definition, its method of calculation and payment, and its potential for modification. If you have a child in Texas and are either the obligor or obligee in a child support case, it is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with the state’s child support laws.

Who is Required to Pay Child Support in Texas?

Child Support in Texas

Parents have a legal responsibility to provide financial support for their children through child support. Child support obligations in Texas are calculated in accordance with the state’s family law, as they are in the vast majority of the country. In this article, we’ll examine Texas’s child support laws and determine who must make payments.

Definition of Obligor and Obligee

It is important to define “obligor” and “obligee” before delving into the technicalities of who must pay child support in Texas. The obligor is the parent who has the responsibility to make child support payments to the obligee, who is the parent who will actually receive those payments. The parent who has primary physical custody of the child is usually the obligee.

Determining the Obligor

In most cases, the non-custodial parent will be ordered by a Texas court to pay child support. The parent who does not have primary physical custody of the child is called the “non-custodial parent.”

Yet that’s not always the case. If both parents share custody of a child, child support payments may be required by the court.

The obligor’s child support obligation will be established by the court in accordance with the Texas Child Support Guidelines. The income of the obligor and the number of dependents are two of the variables considered by the rules.

Exceptions to Paying Child Support

In Texas, there are various circumstances in which child support is not required. For instance, child support payments may be waived if the obligor is a juvenile. The obligor may also be excused from paying child support if they are unable to do so because of a lack of income or a medical condition that prevents them from working.

If the court determines that the debtor has a history of domestic violence or abuse, there will be another exception. The obligee, rather than the obligor, may be ordered to make child support payments in such instances.

How is Child Support Calculated in Texas?

Parents have a legal responsibility to provide financial support for their children through child support. Child support obligations in Texas are calculated in accordance with the state’s family law, as they are in the vast majority of the country.

Overview of the Texas Child Support Guidelines

Child support payments in Texas are determined by a formula that takes into account the non-custodial parent’s income and the number of children in need of financial support. Regardless of whether a parent has primary physical custody, the requirements aim to guarantee that both parents provide for their children financially.

Factors Considered in Calculating Child Support

In Texas, child support is determined by taking into account a number of different criteria. Among these are the following:

  • Gross monthly income of the debtor
  • The total number of kids being helped
  • The obligor’s visitation schedule with the minor.
  • Insurance premiums for the kid’s health care and teeth
  • The price of the kid’s daycare or nanny
  • If the youngster has any other unique requirements,

The amount of child support owed is determined by the obligor’s net monthly income. Wages, tips, bonuses, commissions, and profits from a side hustle are all counted here. Income from investments, pensions, and other sources may also be taken into account by the court.

The child support obligation is calculated by applying a percentage to the obligor’s monthly net income. The percentage changes as follows depending on the number of kids being helped out:

  1. 20% for one child
  2. 25% for two children
  3. 30% for three children
  4. 35% for four children
  5. 40% for five or more children

Calculating Child Support for Multiple Children

The overall child support obligation will be established by the court where there are many children involved. The responsibility will be divided among the children by the court according to their unique needs. While determining child support, the court may take into account the children’s ages, health, and educational requirements.

Deviations from the Standard Guidelines

A judge may decide to depart from the typical child support standards in certain circumstances. When deciding whether or not a deviation is warranted, the court may take into account the requirements of the child, the obligor’s ability to pay, and the obligee’s financial resources.

For instance, if the obligor spends substantial parenting time with the kid, the child support obligation may be modified to account for the obligor’s share of the child’s increasing expenses. Equally, if the child has exceptional needs that call for more financial support, the court may go outside the boundaries to make sure those needs are addressed.

How is Child Support Paid in Texas?

Separated or divorced parents still have a legal responsibility to provide financial support for their children through child support. Like most states, Texas has laws and procedures in place to enforce timely and complete child support payments.

Payment Methods Available

In Texas, you can pay child support in a number of ways:

  1. Wage withholding: This is the most common method of paying child support in Texas. The obligor’s employer deducts the child support amount from the obligor’s paycheck and sends it directly to the child support agency.
  2. Electronic funds transfer: The obligor’s bank account will be set up to make regular payments directly to the child support organization.
  3. Payment by mail: The obligor can also send payments to the child support agency via check or money order.
  4. Payment in person: Obligors can sometimes pay child support at the agency’s physical location.

Establishing a Payment Schedule

The court that issues a child support order will also set a timeline for making payments. The child support payment schedule will specify the due date and amount of each monthly payment. The number of children being supported, the obligor’s income, and other considerations (such as the cost of medical treatment or child care) all contribute to the determination of the payment schedule.

Legal action may be taken by the child support agency if the obligor is in arrears on child support payments. Wage garnishment, asset seizure, and suspension of a license to drive or practice could all be part of this process.

Consequences of Not Paying Child Support

The repercussions for nonpayment of child support can be severe. The obligor may face legal action from the child support agency, as well as the following penalties:

  1. Interest on unpaid child support: The interest rate on overdue child support payments is 6% per year.
  2. Denial of passport: If the obligor owes more than $2,500 in child support, he or she may have their passport rejected or canceled.
  3. Credit reporting: A negative impact on the obligor’s credit score may result from the reporting of unpaid child support to credit bureaus.
  4. Contempt of court: If the obligor does not pay child support as ordered, the court may find them in contempt of court. Fines, community service, or jail time may occur from this.

How Long Does Child Support Last in Texas?

Child support in Texas is normally paid until the child becomes 18, the state’s age of majority. There are, however, a few cases that prove the rule wrong.

Age of Majority in Texas

A minor in the state of Texas is a person under the age of 18. When a child reaches the age of majority (18), he or she is no longer eligible for child support. Child support payments may continue until the child becomes 19 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first.

Exceptions to the End of Child Support

The typical definition of “majority age” does not always apply. In the case of a disabled child, for instance, payments may continue much past the age of majority. In addition, if the child is still enrolled in high school after becoming 18, child support may be extended either until the child graduates or turns 19.

Termination of Child Support

The age of the kid or some other factor will be used to determine when child support payments will end. Child support payments will end on the termination date unless special circumstances arise that necessitate a change to the child support arrangement.

If a child’s child support order is canceled, for whatever reason, the obligor is no longer responsible for making payments. Overpayment due to negligence may be difficult to recoup.

Also See: Detecting Physical Abuse: A Guide for Family and Friends

Modifying Child Support in Texas

If there has been a substantial change in circumstances that makes the current child support order unfair or incorrect, the court in Texas may modify the order. Here, we’ll go over whether it’s necessary to employ an attorney, what grounds there are for requesting a child support adjustment, and how to go about making such a request.

Reasons for Modifying Child Support

A child support order may require revision for a variety of causes. Some typical explanations are:

  1. Change in income: Significant changes in either party’s financial situation since the original child support order was set may call for an adjustment.
  2. Change in custody: A change in custody arrangements may be warranted if the child now primarily resides with either the obligor or obligee.
  3. Change in child’s needs: A change in the child support order may be warranted if the kid’s needs have drastically altered since the original order was obtained, such as the child’s need for expensive medical treatment.

How to Request a Modification

In Texas, either party to a child support order can ask the court that issued the order for a change. The petition must offer justification for the requested change, such as bank statements or medical bills.

The court will hold a hearing shortly after the petition is submitted to decide whether or not a change is warranted. Each side will have a chance to discuss their position and show proof. A new child support order will be issued if the court deems that a change is warranted.

When to Hire a Lawyer

In Texas, requesting a change to a child support order can be done without the assistance of an attorney. But there are circumstances where that course of action makes sense. A lawyer can help ensure that your rights are preserved and that the best possible solution is reached, especially if the opposing party is challenging the modification or if the matter involves significant financial difficulties.

It is also strongly suggested that an obligor who has fallen behind on child support payments retain legal counsel. Wage garnishment, license suspension, and even jail time can happen if child support is not paid.

Also See: Find Divorce Attorney Near Me

Frequently Ask Questions

What is child support?

Noncustodial parents often have to pay child support to the parent who has primary physical custody.

How is child support calculated in Texas?

The Texas Child Support Guidelines are used to determine child support obligations in the Lone Star State. Some of the things that can affect a parent’s child support obligation are the number of kids they have, their income, and the number of kids they already support.

Who is required to pay child support in Texas?

Child support is often paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent in Texas.

How long does child support last in Texas?

In Texas, a kid is entitled to receive child support payments until the child is 18 or completes high school, whichever comes first. There are, however, a few cases that prove the rule wrong.

Can child support be modified in Texas?

If there has been a substantial change in circumstances that renders the current child support order unfair or incorrect, then child support in Texas might be amended.

What happens if a parent doesn’t pay child support in Texas?

Child support arrears in Texas can result in jail time, license suspension, and salary garnishment at the very least.

How is child support paid in Texas?

Automatic wage withholding, direct deposit, and electronic payment are all acceptable forms of child support payment in Texas.

Do I need a lawyer to handle my child support case in Texas?

Hiring an attorney is optional in Texas kid support cases, but it is highly recommended if the other party is contesting the change or if there are sophisticated financial considerations at play.

Share This Article
Katelyn Morgan is an experienced divorce attorney. She understands family law and helps couples get divorced with minimal stress and dispute. Katelyn Morgan has won high-asset and difficult property division divorce cases. She fights hard for her clients and gets the greatest results. Katelyn Morgan speaks at divorce and family law events in addition to her professional business.