What Factors Are Considered When Calculating Child Support in Texas?

In a Texas divorce, a common concern is how the non-custodial parent will provide financial support to the custodial parent. Additionally, people often ask, “Does the custodial parent’s income affect child support?” 

For clarification, in Texas, the term “custodial” refers to the parent with whom the child primarily lives. The “non-custodial” parent has specific visitation times. When clients come to the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC with such inquiries, our explanations are consistent with the information provided in the blog post that follows.

Parents Have a Duty to Care for their Children

It is a given that all parents have a duty to care for their children. I’m sure we all know some parents whose actions may differ from this concept. As a general rule, however, the State of Texas believes that even if you rarely see your child, you have a duty to support them.

Section 151.001 of the Texas Family Code holds that it is the duty of the parents to support their children by providing them with food, shelter, closing, medical care and an education. This brings us back to the questions raised in the opening paragraph: who will pay the support, when should they pay it, and how much should they pay?

How Much is Child Support in Texas?

Most parents can determine child support using the Texas Family Code based on the number of children involved. For example, for one child, the non-custodial parent will need to pay 20% of their net income in child support. For two children, 25% of their net income needs to be paid, etc.

The non-custodial parent can receive “credits” for support owed to other children not involved in this divorce. But typically, the percentages mentioned above apply to most families.

What Income Is Considered for Child Support in Texas?

What sources of income are considered? The following are considered fair game when calculating child support:

  1. all wages and salary income
  2. overtime pay
  3. commissions
  4. tips
  5. bonuses
  6. net rental income
  7. self-employment income
  8. interest, dividends and royalty income
  9. other income which includes severance pay, retirement and pensions, trust income, annuities, social security benefits, capital gains, unemployment, disability and workers’ compensation, gifts and prizes, spousal maintenance and alimony

What if the Parent Paying Child Support Is Unemployed?

The next question at this point in the discussion may be: what happens if:

  1. the non-custodial parent isn’t working or
  2. has purposefully “underemployed” him or herself- meaning they have chosen to work a job where they earn less income that they are able to elsewhere.

In situations such as these, the court can impute additional earnings if they believe the foregoing to be true- that someone is purposefully under-employing themselves in order to avoid having to pay a certain amount of child support.

This is done through either applying the earnings that the court believes the person is capable of earning or simply applying support at the amount of what the federal minimum wage level based on the standard 40 hour work week.

Child Support Deductions?

When it comes to what is taken out of your income, there are taxes, exemptions and other allowable items that are deducted prior to arriving at the net income level that the child support will be assessed against. These items include:

  1. federal income taxes (based on a single person’s tax filing along with one exemption/standard deduction)
  2. union dues
  3. social security taxes
  4. Medicare taxes
  5. Health insurance costs paid for the children only
  6. nondiscretionary retirement plan contributions if not covered by Social Security
  7. Certain other resources are excluded from resources available for child support calculation purposes including
  8. accounts receivable
  9. Welfare payments
  10. payments received for foster care of a child
  11. return of principal or capital

Child Support Income Cap

For some non-custodial parents, their net resources are relatively high. The State of Texas will cap that income, whatever the amount, at $8,550.

The caveat to this rule is that if the court proves the child’s needs are greater than the maximum allowable monthly support obligation, it may proportionately increase the child support responsibility.

The court can order one or both parents to pay the difference between the guidelines support detailed above and the amount that the special needs child requires. The judge, however, cannot order more than the presumptive amount of support or 100% of the child’s proven needs. The parents can always agree to pay more support than a judge would require, aligning with our office’s general principle that mediation/settlement is the best approach to resolving divorce issues.


While navigating child support issues during a Texas divorce, it’s important to understand that both parents’ financial situations are considered. However, the custodial parent’s income does play a significant role. Does the custodial parent‘s income affect child support? This income can influence the amount of child support determined, ensuring that it aligns with the child’s needs and maintains their standard of living.

Ask the Houston Divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our lawyers are not only knowledgeable about the laws that apply to divorce cases in Texas, but are advocates for our clients and their families. Our office and its attorneys are available to answer questions about child support and a multitude of other family law issues.


Adobe Stock 62844981[2]If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: 16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce

  1. Child Support Modification in Texas (Part 1)
  2. What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
  3. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  4. Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
  5. Texas Child Support Appeals
  6. In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
  7. Why Ignoring Child Support Obligations is a Bad Idea in Texas
  8. Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
  9. Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
  10. How to get above guideline child support.

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.

A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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