calculating child support

Calculating Child Support

Texas Child Support

Child support might be feared, anticipated, calculated and discussed in your divorce and in the years after your divorce – depending on who you are.  Are you the paying parent?  Are you the receiving parent?  This post is designed to give you a starting point for understanding how your divorce attorney is going to calculate child support in your case.  There are other factors in cases that may be considered, so be sure to talk about your facts with your divorce attorney to get specific advice for you.  This is a very basic primer on Texas child support.

Whether you’re paying child support or receiving it, you want to get a good understanding of how to calculate child support so that you can talk through this with your divorce lawyer with understanding.  Texas child support is calculated using several numbers you probably already know or can get.

How Many Kids?

The first numbers are easy to get – count up the number of children involved.  How many children does the paying parent have responsibility for in this relationship?  And, how many does the paying parent have responsibility for outside this relationship? Keep the numbers separate but start there. We’ll come back to them.


Then, we look at the income involved in your case.  In Texas, the number that we work with is the ‘net resources’ of the paying parent.  What is the paying parent’s annual income in your situation? Then, we ask who is paying for the health insurance for the children, and how much is that parent paying? (And, for purposes of this post, we aren’t talking about all the issues and questions about health insurance costs, who pays what, or anything additional.  Just look at the number that child support paying parent is paying for health insurance for the kids.)

Texas Guidelines

Guideline Texas child support is calculated using only the paying parent’s income and resources.  Net resources do not include social security taxes, federal income tax based on the single person tax rate, state income tax, union dues, health insurance costs for the children, or nondiscretionary retirement plan contributions, if paid.  So, those amounts are the only deductions allowed to determine the paying parent’s net resources. And, another factor  may increase the net resources are other resources that the paying parent may receive, for example, rental income, retirement benefits, and trust income are all added into the net resources. If you’re not sure, talk this through with your divorce attorney as well.

Child Support Math

Once you’ve gathered all of those numbers, you will have to do some math.  Grab a calculator.  You will divide the annual net resources by 12 to determine the monthly net resource figure.  Next, the number of children in the marriage becomes a percentage: 1 child = 20%, 2 children = 25%, 3 children = 30%, increasing by 5% each child to 6+ children = not less than the amount for 5 children to be applied to the monthly net resources amount.  And, if there are more children the paying parent is responsible for that number decreases the applied percentage for the children in this divorce, based on the number of children.  Be sure to let your divorce lawyer know this, if it applies to your case.

If you’ve got questions about enforcing child support or modifying child support in certain circumstances your least expensive option will be working with the Texas Attorney General Child Support group.  The Texas Attorney General Child Support group isn’t a fit for all cases and situations, but it may be worth it to contact the Office of the Attorney General and find out if it is a fit for you.

This is a very basic discussion of child support calculating for information purposes only.  Get child support advice for your case from an experienced divorce attorney for your child support questions.  Call O’Connell Law Firm, PC and make an appointment with Jill O’Connell for specific advice and discussion of your case today, 940-497-5454.