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Everything You Need to Know About Texas Child Support

Child support is a financial obligation for parents in Texas, fundamental to the well-being of the children involved in divorce proceedings. Regardless of your role in the divorce, understanding the child support process in Texas is vital.

What Exactly Is Child Support?

Simply put, child support is an ongoing payment made by a non-custodial parent (the parent who doesn’t have primary physical custody) to help the custodial parent cover the child’s basic needs. These needs encompass food, shelter, clothing, medical expenses, education, and other necessities.

How IS Child Support Determined in Texas?

The Texas Family Code provides clear guidelines for calculating child support. The court primarily considers the non-custodial parent’s net resources (income minus allowable deductions) and the number of children requiring support. Texas courts follow a percentage system:

  • 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 or more children: At least 40% of net resources

Factors the Court May Consider

While guidelines are helpful, the court can deviate from these standard percentages based on factors like:

  • Special needs of the child
  • Childcare expenses
  • Travel costs for visitation
  • Educational expenses
  • Earning potential of either parent

The Process for Establishing Child Support

The filing process can be initiated in three ways:


Child support and child custody will usually be addressed as part of your divorce case.

Through the OAG

If you are not seeking a divorce, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) can help establish child support orders.

Private Attorney

A family law attorney can guide you through the entire process.


Steps in Filing for Child Support

1. Income Verification


To calculate child support obligations, both parents are typically required to provide comprehensive financial information to the court. This information is used to determine each parent’s net resources or income available to support the child. The specific documents needed may vary slightly by jurisdiction, but generally include income tax returns, pay stubs, and asset statements (i.e. bank accounts, real estate, investments).


It’s crucial for both parents to provide accurate, complete, and up-to-date financial information to ensure a fair and appropriate child support order. Failure to disclose all relevant financial information can result in an inaccurate calculation and potential legal consequences.


2. Court Hearing

In the event of disagreements, a court hearing is held. The court will issue an order for child support based on their assessment.

Modification of Child Support

Changes in circumstances (job loss, significant increase in salary, etc.) may warrant a modification to the child support order. Either party can petition for a modification through the OAG or with an attorney.

Responsibilities of Both Parents

Custodial Parent: Primarily responsible for the day-to-day care of the child and ensuring child support is used appropriately.

Non-Custodial Parent: Obligated to make timely and complete child support payments as per the court order. Withholding or intentionally failing to pay child support can have serious legal consequences.

Child Support Enforcement

If a parent is not complying with a court-ordered child support agreement, the OAG offers a range of enforcement services. These services are designed to help custodial parents receive the financial support their children need and deserve.


The OAG can help by:

Establishing Paternity

The OAG can assist in legally determining the father of a child, a necessary step before a child support order can be created.

Locating a Non-Paying Parent

If a non-custodial parent’s whereabouts are unknown or your ex isn’t paying child support, the OAG has resources to help locate them.

Child Support Orders

The OAG can help you petition the court to establish a formal child support order if one does not already exist.

Enforcing an Existing Order

The OAG has several tools at their disposal to enforce an order, including:

Wage Garnishment

Deducting child support payments directly from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck.

License Suspension

Suspending various licenses (driver’s, professional, hunting/fishing) of a non-paying parent who is delinquent.

Intercepting Windfalls

Applying funds from events like lottery winnings and tax refunds to past-due child support.

Freezing Accounts

Restricting access to funds to satisfy child support obligations.

Reporting to Credit Bureaus

Damaging the non-paying parent’s credit score by reporting non-payment.

Filing Property Liens

Securing child support payments with assets owned by the non-paying parent.


Important Note: In some cases, the OAG may even pursue criminal charges against parents who willfully refuse to pay court-ordered child support.

Child Support Lawyers for Fathers

Fathers hold equal rights in child custody matters, and a lawyer specializing in fathers’ rights can be a powerful advocate during child support and custody proceedings. These attorneys understand the unique challenges and potential biases fathers may face within the legal system.


Here’s how a child support lawyer focused on fathers’ rights can help:

Child support guidelines in many states can be complex. A knowledgeable lawyer ensures that your income, expenses, and the child’s needs are accurately considered when determining fair child support obligations.

Protecting Your Custody and Visitation Rights

Fathers have the right to seek primary custody, joint custody, or significant visitation time. An attorney will help you build a strong case for the arrangement that best serves your and your child’s relationship.

Challenging Unfair Outcomes

If you believe a previous child support order is unfair or based on inaccurate information, we can assist in seeking a modification.

Addressing Paternity Disputes

In cases where paternity is uncertain, our attorneys will help you navigate DNA testing and establish your legal rights as a father.

High-Conflict Situations

Allegations of abuse or neglect can complicate matters. We specialize in father’s rights and will protect your rights and advocate for your position.

Child Support Lawyer in Fort Worth

I’m Spencer Nilsson, a divorce attorney in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2013, I founded Nilsson Legal Group, focusing solely on family law. Since then, our attorneys have helped many clients in Tarrant County and nearby areas achieve favorable outcomes within the Tarrant County court system. We are skilled divorce attorneys committed to providing compassionate and skilled representation. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for a consultation.