Houston Child Support Lawyers
Helping You & Your Child Thrive
When parents file for divorce in Houston, the individual retaining primary custody of the children may be owed a certain amount of money for their child's and well-being. This child support is a fixed figure initially determined by the courts.
In the state of Texas, the courts will consult support guidelines to calculate the monetary value of a child support order, taking into account factors such as the number of children the primary custodian is caring for, and what the other parent can reasonably provide given his or her financial situation.
How is Child Support Calculated in TX? How Much Will I Pay?
Child support figures in Texas generally follow several major guidelines unless there are exceptional circumstances that warrant changes.
The child support calculation is based on the parent’s net income, calculated by deducting the following from the paying parties gross income:
- Federal income taxes for one person with one personal deduction plus the standard deduction;
- Social Security withholdings;
- The premium expenses of a child's medical insurance.
A parent may expect to receive the following percentage of the other parents’ net income in child support:
- 20% for one child
- 25% for two children
- 30% for three children
- 35% for four children
- 40% for five children
- Not under 40% for six or more children
This amount may then be adjusted depending on the exact circumstances of both parents' finances.
How Long Does Child Support Last in Texas?
Very broadly speaking, child support typically lasts until the child is 18 years old or until they graduate high school, whichever occurs later. However, there is an exception for children who have disabilities.
When a disability exists, support will be ordered for an extended period if the child cannot live alone or support themselves. Because there are multiple elements to these kinds of cases, it is wise to speak with an attorney about your situation to assess your rights in requesting or being ordered to pay child support.
Is Child Support Retroactive in Texas?
Yes, child support can be retroactive in Texas. There are certain circumstances where the court can order back support. Texas Family Code Section 154.009, Retroactive Child Support, states that a court can order retroactive child support if a) the parent has not previously been ordered to pay child support and b) the parent was not a party to a lawsuit that resulted in a child support order.
Keep in mind that retroactive child support is not a guarantee. Ultimately, it is always up to the judge to decide if child support should be ordered – retroactive or otherwise.
What If I Can't Afford Child Support?
Child support is calculated based on your net income and the number of children you are supporting, which is mandatory in Texas. If your financial circumstances have changed, however, then you may be able to petition the court for modification of child support. In order to modify your child support order, you will need to provide strong evidence of a "significant change in circumstance," such as long-term unemployment or a significant drop in your net income. A Houston child support attorney can review the details of your situation to help determine if you qualify.
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