Understanding Child Support in Texas

Dec 18, 2020 | Child Support

When minor children are involved in a divorce, it often makes the divorce process more complicated and often more contentious. Specifically, issues relating to child support can be hotly disputed both during the divorce process and long after the divorce has been finalized. Dallas divorce attorney at Rita M. Boyd explains what you need to know about child support in a Texas divorce.

How Is Child Support Calculated?

Child Suppot - Mother with kid

Calculating child support in Texas is much simpler than in many other states. Child support is determined using the Texas Child Support Guidelines. Unlike many states that consider the income of both parents, Texas determines child support based entirely the income of the parent paying support. When calculating child support, the following are included in the payor’s income: 

  • One hundred 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 (rent after deducting operating expenses and mortgage payments, but not including noncash items such as depreciation) 
  • All other income actually being received, including severance pay, retirement pay, pensions, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, disability and workers’ compensation benefits, interest income from notes regardless of the source, gifts and prizes, spousal maintenance, child support, and alimony.                                       

There are also sources of revenue that are not counted in the payor’s income. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits and the resources of a new spouse, for example, are not considered “income” for the purpose of calculating child support. There are also a select few expenses that can be subtracted before calculating child support including: 

  • Social security tax and Federal income taxes paid for a single person 
  • State income taxes
  • Union dues 
  • Child’s health insurance cost or cash medical support

Once the payor’s final monthly income has been determined, the child support amount will be determined as a percentage of that income depending on the number of children for which support is ordered as follows: 

  • One Child                 20% of net resources 
  • Two Children            25% of net resources 
  • Three Children         30% of net resources 
  • Four Children           35% of net resources 
  • Five Children            40% of net resources 
  • Six Children             Not less than 40% of net resources 

Can Child Support Ever Be Increased?

When a final divorce decree is entered it officially ends the divorce process. Unlike most civil litigation, however, it is common to modify that decree down the road. As children grow older, their needs change – and providing for them can become more costly. In addition, the income and expenses of either or both spouses may change after the divorce. If you are receiving child support, you may reach a point at which you want the support amount increased. The good news is that it is possible to modify an existing child support order in Texas. To do so, one of the following must be true: 

  • At least three years have elapsed since the child support order was entered or modified by the court AND the current monthly amount of the child support order differs by either (a) 20% or (b) $100 from the amount that would be awarded, according to child support guidelines. OR 
  • There has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the most recent child support order was entered.

Exactly what counts as a “material and substantial” change in circumstances for the purpose of modifying a child support order is not something that is easily defined. The court has the ability to consider a request on a case-by-case basis. If you want to increase (or decrease) the child support order using the change in circumstances standard it is in your best interest to talk to an experienced divorce attorney about your situation.

Contact a Dallas Divorce Attorney

If you have additional questions or concerns about child support in Texas, contact experienced Dallas divorce attorney Rita M. Boyd, P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options by calling 972-380-8000 or emailing to schedule your appointment today.