Child support is calculated based on set rules, more typically referred to as guidelines. The Texas Family Code states they are “presumed to be reasonable and an order of support, conforming to the guidelines is presumed to be in the best interest of the child.” The child support guidelines help courts in determining the appropriate amount of support, however a judge can weigh circumstantial considerations, such as an agreement of the parties, amount of visitation, the needs of the children and other significant expenses specific to your case. 

Child Support Specifics

Terminology: The person obligated to pay child support is called the “Obligor”, and the person entitled to receive child support is called the “Obligee”. In most cases, the Obligee has primary possession of the child, therefore incurring most of the child’s living expenses.

How It’s Calculated: The amount due is based on the obligor’s net monthly income. 

  • 1 child = 20% of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources.
  • 2 children = 25% of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources.
  • 3 children = 30% of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources. 
  • 4 children = 35% of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources.
  • 5 children = 40% of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources.
  • 6 or more children = not less than 40% of the noncustodial parent’s average monthly net resources.  

NOTE: Guidelines are slightly different if the noncustodial parent has other children to which he/she is obligated to support financially.

Typical Duration

Texas law provides that the Court “may order either or both parents to support a child” until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school (the later of the two), the child emancipates by marriage, the disabilities of the child are removed, or the child dies. In cases that the child is deemed to be disabled by court, then child support may be paid indefinitely. 

Answers to FAQs

  • Relinquishment or termination of parental rights does not necessarily mean that the Obligor’s duty to pay child support is terminated.
  • If, for some reason, visitation with the child has stopped, this does not mean the Obligor may stop paying child support.
  • Unless specifically stated in the order, the Obligor will continue to pay child support during the child’s extended time with the other parent, for example: summer. 
  • Although Texas has no law authorizing courts to include college expenses in child support orders, or to directly order parents to pay for higher education, Texas will enforce agreements contracted by the parents which address the payment of college expenses.  
  • In matters such as private school or religious studies, if the Court finds that a specific private school is in the child’s best interest, the Court may order parents to share the costs, or may find it appropriate that one parent pay this in full. 

Have More Questions? 

If you have more questions related to child support, the team at Maples | Jones is happy to share their expertise by providing answers and guidance in all family law matters.