A Texas court may order either or both parents to support a child until they are 18 years old or graduate from high school, whichever occurs later. In certain situations, paternity of a parent may need to be established before they can be compelled to pay child support. Medical support orders and health care coverage may also be ordered by the court. Generally, when a court orders child support payments, a withholding order is completed and sent to the parent’s employer and the child support money is automatically withheld from their pay and distributed to the custodial parent through the state disbursement unit.
How is child support calculated in Texas?
In Texas, the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay a fixed monthly amount of money for support of a child (called the obligor) based on the number of children the parent is supporting and the obligor’s net resources. The court determines the child support obligor’s net resources by calculating their total earnings and reducing that amount by how much they pay in income tax, social security as well as their contributions to the child’s health insurance and medical support and so forth. The calculations are more complex than simply take-home pay less taxes.
Once the net resources are determined, the child support amount is based on the number of children. For one child, the parent will pay 20% of their monthly net resources. The monthly amount increases with more children: 25% for two; 30% for three; 35% for four; 40% for five and not less than 40% for six or more children.
How does child support modification and enforcement work in Texas?
When the parent ordered to pay support loses a job, receives a significant change in pay or otherwise is not paying child support for a variety of reasons it is possible to modify the child support and ask the court to assist in enforcing the child support order. Where there is a change in income, the court may review the net resources of the parent in a hearing to modify support or accept an agreement by the parties. In an enforcement case, the court may impose penalties including contempt of court and possible jail time for failure to pay court ordered child support.
For information about Texas divorce and family law please call Attorney Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita Falls, Texas by dialing (940) 691-2100.
Richard T. Sutherland represents people and families in Wichita County, Archer County, Baylor County, Clay County, Foard County, Hardeman County, Jack County, Montague County, Wise County, Young County and Wilbarger Counties in North Texas and has accepted cases in other areas West, North-Central and in South Texas.