Understanding Child Support in Texas

Eligibility

  • CHILD: Generally, child support is due and payable for a child until the child turns 18 years-old, graduates from high school (whichever occurs later), marries, dies, or is emancipated (declared an adult) by court order. If the child is disabled or considered to have special needs, a parent may be ordered to pay support the child indefinitely.
  • OBLIGEE: The person responsible to receive the actual payment of child support is called the “Obligee.” Generally, but not always, this is the person with whom the child lives more than 50-percent of the time.
  • Who is Responsible/Who Has a Duty to Pay?
  • By law, both parents of a child have a duty to care for the financial needs of their child. In Texas, “parents” are considered to be:
  • the biological mother,
  • a man presumed to be the father,
  • a man legally determined to be the father,
  • a man who has been adjudicated to be the father by a court of competent jurisdiction,
  • a man who has acknowledged his paternity under applicable law, or
  • an adoptive mother or father.

Payment Calculations

Texas law gives guidelines on calculated child support, based on the number of children involved and the income of the parties. The standard levels are:

20% of net income for 1 child

25% of net income for 2 children

30% of net income for 3 children

35% of net income for 4 children

40% of net income for 5 children

Not less than 40% of net income for 6 or more children

There are other factors that may influence the amount you will be required to pay or will be eligible to receive on behalf of your child(ren), for example:

  • the child’s age and needs;
  • the parent’s ability to contribute to the child’s support;
  • whether the paying party has actual physical custody of another child or children;
  • employee benefits such as housing or a company car;
  • health insurance and uninsured medical expenses for the child;
  • extraordinary educational, healthcare or other expenses of the child.
  • Texas Family Code, Section 154.123

Insurance

Both parents are required to ensure the child is covered by health insurance. Generally, the person who is responsible to pay child support also has a legal duty to provide health insurance, or reimburse the other parent for the health insurance premiums for the child. A court may order that a child be added to a parent’s health insurance policy.

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