How to Calculate Child Support Payments in Texas

Learn how to calculate child support in Texas, when the amount of support may be different than what’s calculated under the state’s guidelines, and how to apply for, collect, and modify child support.

By , Legal Editor

When parents are divorced or no longer living together, the "noncustodial parent" (the one who has the children the least amount of time) typically pays child support. Under the Texas child support guidelines, the support amount is generally based on a percentage of the noncustodial parent's net resources.

How to Use the Texas Child Support Calculator

If the noncustodial parent has only one source of income, you may use the official Texas Monthly Child Support Calculator to calculate the support amount that may apply. To use the calculator, you'll need to know a certain amount of information:

  • the noncustodial parent's gross monthly income, any state income tax on that income, and any mandatory union dues
  • the number of children to be supported
  • the monthly premiums for your children's health and dental insurance, and
  • any other children the noncustodial parent has a legal duty to support.

The calculator will automatically figure in the deductions and the appropriate percentage for your situation, to come up with a projected monthly child support obligation.

How to Calculate Child Support Without the Texas Calculator

If the noncustodial parent has more than one source of income, you'll have to calculate child support yourself. You'll start by figuring out the noncustodial parent's net resources (gross income minus allowed deductions). Then you'll multiply that number by a percentage based on how many children will be covered by the support order. Except for those with very low or very high incomes, the percentages start at 20% for one child and increase in 5% increments for each additional child up to a maximum of 40% for five or more children. (Tex. Fam. Code § 154.125 (2024).)

The Texas guidelines have special calculations for those who have children living in more than one household. (Tex. Fam. Code §§ 154.128, 154.129 (2024).)

Learn more about how child support works in Texas, including which expenses are deducted from gross income to determine net resources. You can also read the full Texas child support guidelines (at Tex. Fam. Code §§ 154.001-154.309).

When Support May Deviate From the Texas Child Support Guidelines

Under Texas law, judges will presume that the support amount calculated under the guidelines is in the children's best interests, but you may argue that a different amount would be better in your situation. Whether you and the child's other parent have agreed on a support amount that departs from the guideline or a judge decides for you, the judge will have to find that applying the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in your case. When making that decision, the judge will consider a long list of specific circumstances spelled out in the guidelines. (Tex. Fam. Code § 154.122 (2024).)

How to Apply for Child Support in Texas

Typically, you'll apply for child support as part of the process of filing for divorce in Texas.

If you aren't married to your child's other parent, you may get help with requesting support by applying for child support services from the Child Support Division of the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG). If needed, the OAG may help establish the child's legal paternity (or parentage).

How to Collect Child Support in Texas

If you're having trouble collecting support payments, the Texas OAG can also help enforce child-support orders.

How to Change the Amount of Child Support in Texas

Either parent may request a change (modification) in the amount of child support in Texas. But you'll need to demonstrate that there has been a substantial change of circumstances that affect a parent's ability to pay support or the child's need for support.

You may request a review of your current child support order from the Texas OAG to determine if a modification is warranted.

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