Child Support

Child support is meant to cover a child's necessary expenses. The Gonzalez Law Group can help you ensure that your children get the support they deserve.

Who Receives Child Support?

The parent who has the exclusive right to determine where your child or children reside will receive child support from the noncustodial parent, based on the noncustodial parent's net disposable income.

How Is Child Support Calculated Under Texas Law?

The amount of child support paid is usually determined by the noncustodial parent's net income in accordance with the Texas child support guidelines, which are presumed to be in the best interest of the child. The child support guidelines are as follows:

Based on the monthly net resources of the obligor

  • One child — 20 percent of obligor's net resources
  • Two children — 25 percent of obligor's net resources
  • Three children — 30 percent of obligor's net resources
  • Four children — 35 percent of obligor's net resources
  • Five children — 40 percent of obligor's net resources
  • Six-plus children — Not less than the amount for five children

The noncustodial parent's income includes:

  • 100 percent of all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services (including commissions, overtime pay, tips and bonuses)
  • Interest, dividends, and royalty income
  • Self-employment income
  • Net rental income
  • All other income actually being received, including severance pay, retirement benefits, pensions, trust income, annuities, capital gains, Social Security benefits other than Supplemental Security Income, United States Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits other than nonservice-connected disability pension benefits, unemployment benefits, disability and workers' compensation benefits, interest income from notes regardless of the source, gifts and prizes, spousal maintenance and alimony.

In addition, there are deductions that are taken from the gross income which include:

  • Social Security taxes
  • Federal income tax
  • State income tax
  • Union dues
  • Expenses for the cost of health insurance or cash medical support for the obligor's child ordered by the court
  • If the obligor does not pay Social Security taxes, nondiscretionary retirement plan contributions.
  • Texas Family Code 154.062

After the gross resources are calculated and the deductions are taken, the child support guidelines percentage is applied to determine the amount of child support to be paid.

Other deductions: It is also important to note that there are certain deductions that are taken prior to calculating the child support amount, and having a financial obligation to another child, not subject to the suit before the court, lowers the guideline child support percentage.

How Long Am I Obligated To Pay Child Support?

Under Texas family law, child support typically remains in effect until the child is 18 years or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.

Deviation From Child Support Guidelines

There may be cases where a deviation from the guidelines is merited. In such situations, the court may order either an increase or decrease in the guideline child support amount. In court, you must present evidence which rebuts the presumption to apply the recommended child support guidelines and show it is in the best interest of the child. Texas Family Code 154.123

In evaluating whether a deviation from child support guidelines is appropriate, the court may consider the following factors:

  • The age and needs of the child
  • The ability of the parents to contribute for the support of the child
  • Any financial resources available for the support of the child
  • Whether either party has the managing conservatorship or actual physical custody of another child
  • The amount of other deductions from the wage or salary income and from other compensation for personal services of the parties
  • Special or extraordinary educational, health care, or other expenses of the parties or of the child
  • Texas Family Code 154.123

Very rarely is a no child support order issued. However, parties may be able to agree on the provisions for the support of the child.

Retroactive Child Support

In some cases, there may be a need for retroactive child support or "back child support." The child support guidelines are also used to calculate the retroactive child support.

In ordering retroactive child support, the court shall consider the net resources of the "obligor" (the person being ordered to pay child support) and whether:

  • The mother of the child had made any previous attempts to notify the obligor of his paternity
  • The obligor has knowledge of his paternity or probable paternity
  • The order of retroactive child support will impose an undue financial hardship on the obligor or the obligor's family
  • The obligor has provided actual support or other necessaries before the filing of the action

After child support is ordered, payments will be sent directly to the Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit. The Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit will then issue it to the "obligee" (the conservator receiving the child support payment). Se habla español.