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FAQs About Child Support in Texas

If you will soon be dealing with a divorce, child support or paternity issue, it is in your best interests to be well-versed in Texas’ laws regarding child support and child custody. In an effort to help you become educated in the state’s child support laws, we are providing a list of frequently asked questions and answers about child support in Texas. If you have further questions or are in need of legal advice, do not hesitate to contact our firm directly.

1. What is a noncustodial parent?

It is the parent who does not have primary custody of a child. However, this does not mean that the noncustodial parent is without rights. Noncustodial parents play a significant role in their children’s lives and they are very important.

2. How is child support calculated?

In Texas, the amount of child support that a parent is paid depends on their net income (their after-tax income) and the state’s child support guidelines.

Put as simply as possible, the child support guidelines in Texas are as follows:

  • One child: 20% of the paying parent’s net income
  • Two children: 25% of the net income
  • Three children: 30% of the net income
  • Four children: 35% of the net income
  • Five or more children: 40% of the net income

To learn more about child support calculations in Texas, click here.

3. What if I have other children living with me?

If you are supporting other children in your home, the state will adjust the guidelines based on the total number of children you are financially supporting. If you are supporting other children, for example, if you started a second family with your new spouse, you should inform the judge, the OAG staff, and/or your attorney that you are supporting other children.

4. Can I be denied visitation if I cannot pay support?

Visitation and child support are two separate issues, even though the court makes determinations on both. Custodial parents are obligated to obey court orders for visitation, even if the noncustodial parent cannot afford to pay child support. In the case of a custodial parent denying visitation, the court can enforce the court order. However, it is never a good idea to not pay child support, even if you cannot afford it. You should make remedial efforts as quickly as possible to inform the court of financial changes that make payment impossible, and you must exhaust all avenues for payment. Penalties for nonpayment are severe.

5. Can grandparents obtain child support?

Under specific circumstances, a grandparent can ask the court to order child support. For example, if a grandparent has been appointed a legal guardian, he or she can apply for child support. Or, if a grandparent can prove that their grandchild has been living with them and is under their care and supervision, the grandparent may seek child support. Under the above circumstances, a separate child support case is opened with the mother and father, even if the child’s parents are both living in the same household.