How to calculate child support in Texas

How to calculate child support in Texas

How to calculate child support in Texas

How to calculate child support in Texas

Texas has a formula to determine the amount of child support the state “presumes” is in the child’s best interest.   As a part of our services, we help you with these calculations. In a nutshell, child support in Texas is determined by figuring out the average net monthly resources of the paying parent and applying guidelines established by the Texas legislature that require paying a percentage of those average net monthly resources depending on how many children there are.

If you are totally baffled (don’t feel bad, most people are), then try this Texas Child Support Calculator which will give you a pretty good idea of the amount that you would pay until we can figure it out more precisely in our office.

If you want to make a stab at it yourself, you will need to calculate the paying parent’s average net monthly resources. This is done by first calculating gross income on an annual basis.

Remember, when you calculate annual gross income, if you get paid a fixed amount, take the amount paid and multiply it by 52 if paid weekly, multiply it by 12 if paid monthly, by 24 if paid two times per month, or by 26 if paid every two weeks.

 Step 1 – Determine what income is to be included:

Include the following income in your annual gross income calculation:

  • One hundred percent of all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services (including commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses);
  • Interest, dividends, and royalty income;
  • Self-employment income;
  • Net rental income (rent after deducting operating expenses and mortgage payments, but not including non-cash items such as depreciation); and
  • All other income actually being received, including severance pay, retirement pay, pensions, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, disability and workers’ compensation benefits, interest income from notes regardless of the source, gifts and prizes, spousal maintenance, child support, and alimony.

Do not include:

  • Return of principal or capital on a note not included in net resources;
  • Accounts receivable;
  • Benefits paid through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);
  • Payments for foster care; or
  • Net resources of a new spouse.

Step 2: Get the average monthly income.

Divide the annual gross income you get by 12 to give you average monthly gross income.

Step 3: Subtract the  the following from the average monthly income to give you average monthly net resources:

  • Federal income taxes paid for a single person claiming one personal deduction and the standard deduction;
  • State income taxes;
  • Social security taxes (tip: click here to see a chart that shows monthly net income after taxes);
  • Union dues; and
  • Child’s health insurance cost or cash medical support.

To determine the amount of monthly child support, apply the percentages below to the average monthly net resources (unless the child lives in more than one household in which case the calculations are different). For 2012, the maximum child support payment in Texas is capped at a percentage of $7,500 average net monthly resources. So the maximum amount of child support for one child is $1500 per month and $1875 for two. The cap on the maximum average net monthly resource amount will be adjusted every six years according to inflation beginning in 2007. If the average net monthly resources are $7,500 or less, the amount of child support is calculated as a percentage of the actual average net monthly resources:

  • 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 Children Not less than 40% of net resources

If the net monthly resources are more than $7,500 the amount of child support may be adjusted upward if the child’s proven needs are greater than the presumptive guidelines amount. A court may order one or both parents depending on their circumstances to pay the difference between the guideline amount and the child’s proven needs, but the judge cannot order more than the presumptive amount of child support or one hundred percent of the child’s proven needs, whichever is greater (unless of course the parents agree to that amount). If the child receives social security or disability benefits from the paying spouse’s old age social security or disability benefits, those amounts are subtracted from the total amount of child support required under the guidelines.

In cases where the parent paying child support is paying child support for other children outside of this case, the percentages are slightly lower. We can help you calculate these reduced amounts.

67 comments to How to calculate child support in Texas

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  • […] Calculating Child Support – How do I calculate my child support payment in Texas? […]

  • oscar aparicio

    What iif I leave my current employer and take a job with less stress and lower pay. I am avg. 100,000 a year. My income would drop by 50%. How would that effect the child support. Would I still have to pay the same amt.

    • Jack Robinson


      Until you get a new order in place lowering your child support, you will continue owing the same amount of child support. The other issue is if you leave your current job for another job earning significantly less money that you are currently earning, your ex-wife may raise the issue you are intentionally under-employing yourself for the purpose of avoiding your child support obligation. If the court agrees with that argument, you could be order to continue paying the current amount of the ordered child support.

      Hope this explanation provides you some guidance!


  • jay

    My child support is being reviewed by my request because of job change for over a year. I make about 30 percent less now. They are going by all my overtime which I only have got this year due to employee shortage and covering routes, I am a driver. Does Texas go by overtime no matter what? Without oovertime I can’t even provide for my family. What can I do?

    • Jack Robinson

      They look at the totality of your income. You can offer evidence in support of your claim that the overtime is not dependable or predictable. Courts will listen and give weight to that evidence. Hope this helps!

  • Carey

    Would I take a certified copy of my notice to withhold to my new employer so that they can start deducting without delay the same amount that was being deducted from my previous job? Despite me making more? Would the ex find out immediately where I work or would she need to inquire etc…?

    • Jack Robinson

      You can either take a certified copy of the order to your new employer or ask the district clerk to send a copy of the order to your new employer. Regardless of the way you get the order to your new employer, it will not trigger a release of information from your new employer to anyone about the amount of your new salary.

  • steve miller

    I have one child with first ex-wife, I have another child with second ex-wife, I am now single and have no other children or dependents – how do I determine the total percentage of my net pay for child support – both children love with their mothers

  • Steffan

    How does basic housing allowance is factor into the calculation of the child support? This amount reflects my pay stub but is automatically deducted monthly by the contracted housing office of the military.

  • Steffan

    How does basic housing allowance is factor into the calculation of the child support? This amount reflects my pay stub but is automatically deducted monthly by the contracted housing office of the military. I currently live in Hawaii on military housing property.

  • Andrea

    My ex husband makes 160,000 a year and I make 12,000 a year. He has custody of our 3 children. My income is way below the poverty level yet I’m still giving him 300 a month even though he makes a lot more than I do. I can’t afford a car, a place to live, etc. How do I get it reduced?

    • Jack Robinson

      You need to file a motion to reduce your child support. The problem is that the lowest the court is likely to reduce your child support is to what would be owed if you only earned a minimum wage salary. Not sure what county you are in but you need to see if there is legal aid available in your county to help you. Hope this offers you some guidance.

  • Jack Robinson

    That is not true. The rate is 25% for 2 kids. Here is a link on an easy to use child support calculator

  • Jack Robinson


    You did not say if the the court order is from a Texas court or not. I will assume that it is. The link above is an excellent child child support calculator. Hope this helps!

    Jack Robinson

  • Jack Robinson

    Click on this link. Great calculator for calculating child support when there are children by different mothers

  • Lynn Gray

    I’m a rancher with some W-2 income. I file a schedule F each year. Is my net income my AGI for calculating the 20% ?
    Thanks for the help

  • james Willis

    If i have teen kids do i have to pay child support

  • Disabled Vet

    Counselor Robinson,

    My legal issue regards Dept. of Veteran Affairs disability compensation. As a 100% unemployable, compensated Texas disabled vet (placed on the Permanent Disability Retired List under Title 10 Chapter 61 with only 33 months active duty) who also receives Social Security disability benefits, 26 U.S.C 104 (b)(2)(D) states that my VA compensation is not to be considered gross income. Per consideration of sections 8.055 2(2)(F), 101.001 and 154.061 found within the Texas Family Law Code, can a judge lawfully include my VA compensation as gross income for child support calculation? This federal restitution is also legally defined as not remuneration for employment i.e. not earnings for personal service and cannot be garnished.

    See also

    In September 2009, a Texas Title IV-D official properly submitted to the Dept. of VA an apportionment request for the children living with my ex-wife.

    I subsequently possess an apportionment denial ruling from the Secretary of Veteran Affairs which states that my compensation is not to be reduced. Per 38 U.S.C. section 511, does this ruling prevent Texas family court from making a second judgement as to using my VA compensation for child support?

  • LeAnn

    From what I understand if a parent is paying child support for one child it is 20% of their net resources. And 25% for 2 children. What if those children are from 2 separate women in 2 separate households? What percentage does each child receive?

  • roland

    I have 2 children from a previous relationship, 2 in a current one. I make about 3,900 gross a month.I pay 280 to first mom..and 720 to second. The first mother is taking me yo court to try to get an increase. My monthly bills are 1500 and I only take home about 1750…how much more can she get from me???

  • Ross Ruchti

    I live in another state. My kids stayed with me three weeks this summer. Do I still pay support for the three weeks they were with me?

  • shane

    Does my va compensation check include as income along with my regular full time Job?

  • James

    I am retiring from the military on disability and plan to use my Montgomery GI Bill to return to school. Is my GI Bill monthly stipend included in my child support calculation?

  • John T Flores

    If I have a fulltime job and pick up a seasonal/part time job does that calculate into my child support?

  • Jorge

    The AG has ordered a review of my child support payments. I graduated in May 2012 from Busimess school. My salary has increased from 60k to 100k. Per my calculations my child support payment will almost double. From 630 to 1200. I haven’t have my appointment yet but there is enough tools out there to calculate this. Thus I feel confident about those numbers. My question is this. I was unemployed for 2 years while in school(a pays internship in the middle 20k). I paid the 630 dollars during those 2 years. I borrowed money and use some of my savings to accomplish the latter. I have a lot of school loans to pay plus my mortgage etc etc etc. at the beginning of school I called the AG office and asked if I could have my payments reduced and a clerk said no. According to what I have read now I don’t belive that was true. But that is in the past now. As I have only been receiving my 100k salary for a year would the judge take in consideration the 2 years was not receiving income but remain making my payments. I m just very worried while 100 k is a good salary when you take in consideration taxes and student loans is definitely not as much as I would like it to be. I’m a responsible dad and I have never missed a payment but it will be really hard for me to continue to pay for the summer schools that I put her while she is with me plus all the stuff that I buy her during my weekends . Please advise if in your opinion I have some choices.

  • Leeann

    Is BAH for military members counted in the calculation for child support in Texas?? the military member still receives full BAH for dependents

  • Sara

    We filed an Uncontested divorce about 7 months ago and mutually agreed upon an amount for child support However now I’m being served with papers to modify the child support order there has been NO change in his job the only difference since the divorce decree was finalized is we (me and the children) moved. The amount he pays now is currently a bit higher then the state guidelines. will a judge changed this since its been such a short period of time? He has the visitation schedule of every 1st, 3rd, 5th, weekend from Thursday after school until Monday morning and every 2nd and 4th Thursday overnight.

  • Someone

    The father of my child has two kids from different mothers one he already has child support paper work and he just went to have the second child on child suporrt paper work. The judge said that I needed to fill out paper work with my income we are not/ have not been married by court or church we live together yes and have his third child together yes. Why does my income matter. If my income matters shouldnt the childs mothers common law husbands income matter also..

  • It’s been 13 years ive never been called in for review until now. My son just turned 18 my daughter is about to turn 17. I make quiet a bit more at work than what I did 13 years ago my ex wife and I share all expenses with the kids and she said that she doesn’t want anymore than what im paying now. The OAG wants us to come in for a negotiation my question is can the state make me pay more even if she tells them she doesn’t want anymore?

  • Scott

    Does the amount you put in a 401k., count as income used to determine your child support? For instance I make 75k a year and due to overtime and differential I made 86k. Buy I contributed 11k to my 401 k. What will they use as my gross income?


  • Ok my ex is screaming I will be paying some outrageous amount of child support for our three kids. I live in Texas and we are splitting residential custody she has the girls one week while I have the boy and we switch on Sunday. Without court order I’ve been giving her $400 a month. Could you possibly tell me how much more I will have to give her. Thanks for your time.

  • Melissa drefe

    i need help!!!
    i am currently paying child support for 3 children that live in georgia and i live in texas this order for child support was issued when we first divorced in 2005 when i was pregnant with the 4th child she was never addressed in the order and has always lived with me and the father has never paid a dime for her but anyways i have since then taken custody of another one of the children so he only has 2 now but i am still paying for all 3 i have filed for childsupport when i took custody but it has not been desided yet this was in feb. 20014 when i called the child support office handling my child support the cont to tell me that they have no information. what can i do to fix that i am paying for 3 when its only 2 now and also for my daughter as well. i know it is confusing i am so sorry.thank you in advance

    • Jack Robinson

      You will need to file a modification in the court where the divorce/child custody was originally granted. Call if you have questions. No charge for the initial consultation

  • Sarah

    My step-daughter is 18 years old and lives in AR and attends college there. She has always lived with her mom primarily, but we live in TX and she visits us for the Summer and over Christmas break. Her parents were never married, and her mother never took her father to court to obtain child support through the legal system. We have voluntarily paid her money every month and have also paid many expenses on her behalf. It was I am sure less than what the court would have ordered because we have been saving for some of the larger expenses coming up like a car and college. We always continued to pay her even in the months that she was with us. Now my step-daughter is in college and she is taking out student loans which we will end up paying for her. If her mother decided to try to take her dad to court for some sort of back child support, do we risk any major exposure at this point? I have detailed records as well as receipts for everything that we have paid on her behalf for the last 6 yrs. There was never any sort of decree.

  • cody

    I’m married with 2 kids I have 2 more kids with my ex that’s just filed for child support is there any difference in the amount I would have to pay because I’m married with 2 other kids I have to take care of

  • Ms. Sparr

    Okay. What if im legally separated and he went before judge saying he would pay half my mortgage, taxes, insurance, truck insurane and cell phone ($700) so she only charged him $223 ($23 for medicade) for our twin boys, but he movec back in house and cops would not remove as he owns it too and after much fighting i had police escort to get RV across street (he was suppose to live in) and move it to a park. He turned phone off and quit paying truck ins. He is now getting paid “under the table”. Can i request that amount now in cash? (*note worthy. he has two other children by two different households with set child supports at $200 each (agreed apon 10 years ago))

  • Pattie

    I am a employer and I have a employee that I have to start taking child support out of him for two different orders weekly one is $123.46 and the other is 240.46. my question is what do you take out of his check if he only has 20 hours not 40 hours a week is there a smaller amount that I send to the child support office

  • Amber

    If it has been more than 3 years since my last child support review, does the amount still have to change by $100 or 20% in order for a change to be granted? I wasnt sure if that only applied if I tried to have it changed and it had been less than 3 years.

  • Chris

    My 18 year old son is disabled and ex is wanting to modify current standard order to have support continue indefinitely. My son will qualify for and receive SSI benefits and will soon be living in a group home (paid for by SSI and Medicaid). Ex wants to put $$ in a trust to avoid disruption with SSI and Medicaid. I currently pay $300/month based on our original agreement. Today, my salary is higher and I’m looking at $1000/month for the rest of my life? To be placed in a trust that she has 100% control? Is there no provision that accounts for the fact that my son will be in a group home? The actual cost of care is being covered by SSI and Medicaid. Only real cost for his mom and I will be clothing and other personal items. Doesn’t seem like there is a set calculation for disabled adult children support?

  • Pauline

    I am married to a man who pays child support for his two girls. The oldest is graduating from high school this month and turning 18 on August 8th. He is contacting his child support case representative to find out what steps he has to take in order to get the support reduced to the lower amount set in the divorce decree since his oldest is essentially “aging out” of child support. Is there any possibility his ex-wife could file for the child support to be reviewed/modified in order to get the decreased amount (come September he should only pay support for one minor child) actually increased because my husband makes more money now then when the original child support was initiated? And if she can, is support modification based on multiple years of income (I’ve heard they take an average of the last three years income) or just the income he currently makes? Thanks for your help.

  • Danielle

    My child and I live in TX (20% – 100 percent of all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services), however her father lives in MS (14% Percentage Of Adjusted Gross Income ). Being that I reside in Texas which percentage will I receive? Thank you!

  • Geni

    I was divorced in Washington State. At the time, my income matched my former spouse’s income. Since then, my daughter and I have moved back to the State of Texas. The father remains in Washington State. He has gone a year at a time and not paid child support. We have paid for all visitation expenses for the past two years with no input from the father. His child support payment came in with an extra payment. I sent him back half of it because, although he owes for a year of non-payment of child support and two years of visitation travel expenses, I though it was the right thing to do. Our court order states that the child support is to be direct pay. He now wants to go back to the State of Washington to have it garnished. The State of Washington has said that we would have to modify the order for them to garnish the wages. I no longer work and have just beat breast cancer. I homeschool our daughter. He makes 50,000.00 plus a nice benefits package and no other children. Would it be better to have the proceedings in Washington or Texas? In Texas, it would be 20% of his income. So, which would be the better option?

  • John T

    I am in sales. My employer gives me a car allowance to pay for my required company car. It has to be a newer car and have 4 doors. So I cannot drive an older car. The car allowance is $750/mo to cover car payment, insurance and repairs. Is that considered income when figuring how much child support will be. I know its taxable for Federal taxes, but not sure about child support

  • Michael P

    My original order had my ex as custodial parent for all the kids. Now, for various reasons, of the four minor children that we have together, two live with me and two live with her. The Texas online calculator doesn’t seem to provide a satisfactory way of estimating what my child support would be. Do I run it twice – once with my income and putting in 2 children I’m to pay support for, and listing 2 children that I have to support that aren’t part of the calculation…then do the same thing using *her* income, then subtract the smaller number from the larger one? So basically figuring out how much I’d have to pay her if the only two kids that were ours together were living with her, then figuring out how much she’d have to pay me if the only two kids that were ours were living with me?

  • Anita

    Good morning, I am in the preliminary stages of divorce; currently separated. I have 2 minor children and as I understand it my child support would be 25% of my husband’s net income. Is it advised to ask him for the support now before it is a court order, because we need his financial support now?


  • JT

    I pay child support directly to my ex wife per the way she had it set up in the divorce because I couldn’t afford an attorney at the time. I have my children Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays every week and pay $150 weekly child support. Can I have this reduced considering I have them as much as I do? This is based on a $600 weekly paycheck i make at work. I’m not sure what to do considering she can barely take care of my kids as it is and I’d like to just get custody of them. Amy information would help. Thanks!

  • kay

    hi , i have 2 daughters with my soon to be ex husband. we moved here to texas last year from colorado and he is currently paying for his daughter with his ex wife who lives in colorado and he pays her 294 a month so 73.50 a week, his gross income is 2,500 before deductions . will her child support increase or decrease if i file for child support here in texas against him for our two daughters here in texas . how does this work i dont want to put him in a hole with another child support order if hers increases? thank you .

  • Kristina Kindrick

    Does SSA count as income and will the childs SSA count as well?

  • Julie

    My ex has a personal business that he runs all of his sports officiating through. He is required to supply the 1099s to show what the income is and then pay the 25% Texas requires for child support of 2 children. Instead, he has given me the business “report” that he developed for income taxes. It includes all of his expenses; auto, dues, training fees, meals and ENTERTAINMENT, etc. He deducted these and then found the 25%. Is this the proper way to determine child support? Why are the kids responsible for these expenses? Should they not get the 25% of the income, not “net profit” of the business?
    Thank you for your help.

  • Good morning, I am in the begining stages of filing for a divorce; currently separated for 3 years. My question is my spouse (husband) has a child support order in place for another child. We have 1 child together under the age of 18. What percentage of child support will he be obligated to pay? Is it 25% or 20.63%? Will this percentage be divided by 2 for both or will each child be entitled to the defined percentage. Thank you.

  • Brian

    I am in a very difficult situation and need answers badly. I am married with three young children (one of which is an infant) and my wife does not work. She is a stay at home mom and I support all 5 of us on about $100,000 per year before taxes. I made a mistake and had an affair and she ended up getting pregnant. This is commonly referred to as a “love child” and I know I will owe her something for child support, but this is does not seem to be a cut and dry case as everywhere I read it says something different about when the spouse you support is unemployed, thus she is also a dependent. What would I expect to pay this other woman for child support given my current situation? I do not have a ton of money left over at the end of the month supporting 5 individuals off of one income. Please help.

  • Misty

    I am self employed and make $500 a month. I pay child support for 1 child, but I have 2 children that live with me. I’m a single mom and I don’t get child support for my 2 children. I have been trying for 2 years to get my orders modified and they never tell me anything, but please fill out the forms again and send them in. I am working as much as I can will what help I get with my children. I live in a small town and I don’t have very many options for a second job.
    thank you for your help

  • Dwayne M

    Are the numbers $1500 and $1875 still good? Were they adjusted in 2013 or are they being adjusted in 2018?

    For 2012, the maximum child support payment in Texas is capped at a percentage of $7,500 average net monthly resources. So the maximum amount of child support for one child is $1500 per month and $1875 for two.

  • Mike Davis

    I’m currently have two support orders in the state of Missouri. My third child was born in Texas and we going through the process of child support now. How does look at a case like I live over 100 miles from my child. What percent does the mother in Texas get. If I have two other children in different states that get support.

  • Arthur

    I need a lawyer. I have an order in Illinois. Both me, the kid and wife lives in Texas. I need a modification. I have been discharged from military and cannot afford the current order and the cost it takes for full time medical assistant. I want to file a modification in Texas where kid resides.

  • Jctovar1983

    I pay 3 child supports to three woman and have a child home. My gross monthly pay is 1920.00 and I have no other income. what should I be paying monthly in child support? And does my child at home count?

  • Maria

    I HAVE 2 KIDS the father pays 2 other moms already would I still be ENTITTLED to 25%?

  • E. E

    Does the court take into account child support payments being made if the 1st child is not court ordered? I have been paying support for one child for over 13 years now. I have a 2nd child and now we are going to court. How will the support be calculated for the 2nd child? I have a good relationship with the 1st child’s mother and she has given me a notarized document saying how much I have been paying to her along with the birth certificate acknowledging that she is the mother of my 1st child. I also have all my bank statements showing exactly how much I have paid the 1st mother also. Will the court take all this into consideration?

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