Texas Child Support Questions

By Bernadette A. Safrath

Child support is the financial assistance paid by one parent to the parent with primary custody of the children after the parents divorce or separate. The Texas Family Code outlines how child support is calculated, when an order can be modified and when the support order terminates. The law also sets forth the procedures for enforcing a support order that goes unpaid.

Child support is the financial assistance paid by one parent to the parent with primary custody of the children after the parents divorce or separate. The Texas Family Code outlines how child support is calculated, when an order can be modified and when the support order terminates. The law also sets forth the procedures for enforcing a support order that goes unpaid.

Support Amounts

Texas courts set the child support amount according to statutory guidelines. To determine the child support obligation, the court calculates the owing parent's resources, which include all wages, tips, commissions and bonuses, retirement or pension benefits, and unemployment, workers compensation or disability benefits. After tax deductions, deducting any union dues and the costs of health insurance for the child, if the owing parent incurs costs for obtaining such coverage, the court will set the support amount by multiplying the parent's total resources by a given percentage, based on the number of children he will support. Those amounts are 20 percent for one child, 25 percent for two children, 30 percent for three children, 35 percent for four children and 40 percent for five or more children. The court may deviate from these percentages based on the extraordinary needs of the child, owing parent's ability to pay additional support and whether the owing parent shares custody with the parent receiving support, likely incurring expenses of his own when the child is in his care.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Enforcement of Obligations

When a parent does not receive support as ordered, she can seek assistance from the Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General's Office. The CSD is authorized to use several methods to collect past due support. There is no statute of limitations on enforcing support orders, so the CSD can attempt to collect until the support is paid in full. During that time, interest of 6 percent per year will accumulate on the owed support amount. Enforcement methods include wage withholding, or garnishment, in which support is deducted from the owing parent's paychecks and transferred to the receiving parent; a lawsuit to obtain a judgment for the owed support; filing liens against bank accounts, real estate and other property owned by the owing parent; and suspension of state-issued licenses, including driver's, hunting, fishing and professional. Lastly, the court can sentence the owing parent to time in jail until the past due support is paid.

Modification of Support

Either parent can seek modification of a child support order. A Texas court can modify a support order if a parent has experienced a substantial or material change in circumstances. This commonly means the owing parent has experienced a decrease in income, lost his job or child has additional expenses, increasing the custodial parent's financial need. Child support can be reviewed every three years if incomes change, resulting in an increase or decrease in child support of 20 percent or $100. If either parent gets remarried, the new spouse's income cannot be included in the support calculations to increase the owing parent's support obligation or decrease the receiving parent's financial need.

When Support Terminates

Texas law requires the payment of child support until the child's 18th birthday or high school graduation, whichever is later. However, if a child has not graduated after turning 18, he must comply with enrollment and attendance requirements in order for the custodial parent to still receive support. The child support obligation will also terminate if the child dies, gets married or becomes emancipated. However, if the court determines that a child is disabled, the support obligation can continue indefinitely.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Idaho Child Support Laws for a Non-Paying Parent

References

Related articles

Alabama Collection & Distribution of Child Support

When two parents have children together but don't share a household, one parent often needs to provide financial support to the other parent. The state of Alabama assists many parents who pay or collect child support. Although some parents may choose to pay support voluntarily, a state court or child support agency cannot enforce an arrangement without a court order.

What Happens If I Can't Make My Child Support or Alimony Payments in Maryland?

After a divorce is finalized in the state of Maryland, the court issues a decree that may order one spouse to pay alimony and child support to the other spouse. Under state law, after a divorce decree is issued, an automatic withholding order is sent to the employer so that alimony and child support payments are withheld from his wages. A parent who fails to pay alimony or child support as ordered may face criminal and civil penalties.

How Often Can You Check an Ex-Spouse's Income for Child Support in North Carolina?

Child support is awarded to a custodial parent to assist with the expense of raising a child. The non-custodial parent is legally obligated to pay once a court has ordered it. Although the court makes a determination on the amount of child support at the time child support is awarded, the order can be modified at a later date due to a change in circumstances, such as when an ex-spouse’s income increases.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Wyoming Child Support Laws

When spouses divorce in Wyoming, they remain responsible for providing financial support for their children. To clarify ...

According to Kentucky Law, What Happens if a Man Isn't Able to Pay Child Support?

A noncustodial parent in Kentucky is responsible for paying child support until his child graduates from high school ...

Kentucky State Laws on Child Support Collection

When parents separate or divorce, the parent who does not have primary custody of the children will be required to pay ...

Alabama Child Support Arrears Laws

Child support is awarded to a custodial parent to provide financial assistance with a child's basic needs, including ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED