How do I calculate how much child support I am to receive…or how much must I pay?

Child support is ordered to ensure that children receive financial support.  Both parents are obligated to support their children- even if they are not living together.  “Well, how much?” –you may ask!  The Texas Family Code establishes “guideline” child support amounts.  Furthermore, the code establishes the presumption that the guideline amounts are reasonable and that an order which conforms to the guidelines is in the best interest of the child.

Guideline child support is generally as follows:

  • For one child                                     20% of the obligors net income
  • For two children                               25% of the obligors net income
  • For three children                            30% of the obligors net income
  • For four children                              35% of the obligors net income
  • For five children                               40% of the obligors net income
  • Note:  Guideline support is generally calculated on the presumption that the Court will order the obligor (person who pays child support) to also provide health insurance for the children.

If there is more than one child you will also need to address what happens when the oldest child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever event occurs first.  The court will not take more than 50% of the obligor’s net income for child support.  After all, the obligor must eat and pay for their own rent, too!  Also, there is a multi-family guideline that may apply if the obligor has a legal duty to support other children who are not part of this case…which may result in the obligor paying a lesser percentage than listed above.

This is a thumbnail sketch only!  Other rules apply to higher wage earners, etc.  As you can see, calculating child support can become a complicated issue.  When you have a hearing on this matter you will have follow rules/laws from the Texas Family Code, the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Texas Rules of Evidence and Local Rules, among others.  So, whether you need child support or if you will be obligated to pay child support should consider getting an attorney to assist you.


About Lori Elaine Laird, J.D.

My practice has a sound reputation in the Clear Lake area with a detail-oriented, aggressive presence in surrounding county courtrooms.
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