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Understanding Child Support in Texas

While both parents are legally responsible for the financial support of their child, the primary caring parent whom the child lives with is entitled to receive child support from the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent who is entitled to receive the child support is referred to as the "obligee" and the non-custodial parent who is ordered to pay child support is referred to as the "obligor." 

Child support obligation amounts are established pursuant to the guidelines setforth in the Texas Family Code. The court will only deviate from these guidelines if special circumstances warrant the deviation.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How does the court determine the non-custodial parent's net income?

The court will first determine what the obligors net resouces are.  Net resources include wage and salary income, self-employment income, net rental income, and all other income actually received.  

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Under the Texas Family Code, child support  is based on the first $8,550 of the obligor's monthly net income.

The following percentage guidelines are presumed to be appropriate:

1 child               20% of Obligor's Net Resources

2 children         25% of Obligor's Net Resources

3 children         30% of Obligor's Net Resources

4 children         35% of Obligor's Net Resources

5 children         40% of Obligor's Net Resources

6+ children      Not less than the amount for 5 children

If the non-custodial parent has a duty to support other children who are not a before the court in the present suit, the percentage guidelines will be adjusted.

What if the person obligated to pay child support is not working?

Even if the non-custodial parent is not working, the court will still order the unemployed parent to pay a minimum amount of support.  The court will presume that the unemployed party has resources equal to the federal minimum wage 40-hour work week and the guidelines will be applied to such.  

What if the person obligated to pay child support is intentionally earning less to avoid paying more child support?

If the court finds that obligor is intentionally underemployed, the court may apply the support guidelines to the earning potential of the obligor.  

When can a child support order be modified?

A previous child support order can be modifed when the circumstances of the child or a person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since...

  • the date the order was rendered, or

  • the date of the signing of a mediated or callaborative agreement, or 

  • if it has been three years since the order was rendered and the amount of the child support order differs by twenty percent or $100 from the amount that would be awarded pursuant to the guidelines.  

What can I do if the non-custodial parent is not paying child support?

If there is a court order for the non-custodial parent to pay child support, and he/she is not paying, you can file a motion to enforce the child support order.  If the paying party is behind on their child support payments, you may request that the court find him/her in contempt of court.  Penalties for contempt of court include fines, jail time, and the recovery of attorney's fees.  


Finding the right legal support for child custody, possession and access, and visitation matters is crucial. Our Houston law firm specializes in family law, offering expert assistance to guide you through challenging situations. Our team of good divorce lawyers ensures your child's best interests are protected. Additionally, we provide valuable help to calculate child support, offering clear child support guidance using the Texas child support calculator. Rely on our experienced attorneys to navigate the complexities of child custody and support issues, seeking the best outcomes for you and your family.

If you are seeking child support for your child, we can ensure that your child receives the child support that they are entitled to.  Additionally, if you are responsible for paying child support, we will ensure that you are paying the appropriate amount of support.  

If you're in need of a Houston Child Support Attorney, contact The Quander Law Firm at (832) 930-7139 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation

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