How Do Courts Calculate Child Support in Texas?

How divorce could affect your finances.

Some of the many burning questions you may have if you are thinking about filing for divorce likely have to do with child support. If you have children, the answers to those questions may greatly affect your decisions moving forward. Let’s take a look at some of the frequently asked questions about calculating child support in Texas.

How Is Child Support Calculated?

Generally, the judge presiding over your case will decide the amount of child support that is to be paid. The judge will determine the amount after reviewing both parties’ net incomes, including all wages, benefits, and assets. Texas state law has a number of guidelines to help determine how much an Obliger should pay. These guidelines are considered to be in the best interest of the child.

Most non-custodial parents end up paying a percentage of their income as child support. Depending on the number of children a person has, they will likely pay between 20 percent and 40 percent of their income in child support payments.

What Factors Are Considered When Calculating Child Support?

The judge will review a great many things before making a decision, including:

  • The needs of the child/children
  • Childcare expenses
  • Educational expenses
  • Parent’s employment record and ability to pay
  • Child custody
  • Employment benefits/bonuses
  • Alimony payments
  • Outside financial resources
  • Expenses related to visitation
  • Cash flow from real property
  • Medical expenses and health insurance for the child
  • Special circumstances

Can Parents Negotiate Their Own Child Support Plan?

Parents in Texas are generally allowed to reach their own agreement regarding child support. However, 99 percent of the time, we do not advise it. Child support agreements are notoriously difficult to change once they have been entered into record.

Without the assistance of a divorce attorney, parents could very easily wind up paying way too much, or getting stiffed. Because so many things go into calculating a fair child support amount, it is extremely easy to miscalculate or forget things. There is a ton of room for nuance when calculating child support, and two people will almost certainly come up with very different numbers.

Child support is definitely the sort of thing you want to get right the first time, because barring any extreme changes that convince a judge to allow you to alter a child support agreement, you are looking at 18 long years.