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.

8 thoughts on “How to calculate child support in Texas

  1. Jack Robinson Post author


    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!


  2. 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 Post author

      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!

  3. 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 Post author

      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

  4. 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.

    • Jack Robinson Post author

      I need more information before I can answer this question. Call me. No charge for the initial consultation

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