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Can I get child support while my Texas divorce is pending?

Often, once a divorce is initiated, a need for support arises for the custodial parent (the one with whom the child or children primarily reside). A common question that clients in this situation ask is “Can I get child support while my divorce is pending?” The answer is yes, and there are a few ways for child support to be ordered while a divorce is pending, through the use of temporary orders. Temporary orders can mandate that temporary child support should be awarded.

What are Temporary Orders?

Temporary Orders are an order issued by a judge, or agreed to by the parties, that takes effect for the duration that a family law case in pending. Often, temporary orders are negotiated, agreed, and signed voluntarily by the parties. Once the order is signed by the parties, it is filed to the court and signed by the judge. If the parties cannot agree on their own, some courts require that the parties attend mediation and attempt to come to an agreement in that way, before being allowed to schedule a temporary orders hearing in front of a judge.

What if we can’t agree?

If the parties are unable to come to an agreement over the terms of the temporary orders, a party may file a petition or motion for temporary orders and there must be a hearing in front of a judge. A temporary orders hearing can feel like a trial, as the hearing usually involves testimony and evidence. Witnesses may be called and cross-examined, and documents, photos, etc. can be introduced into evidence.

Once a court has entered the temporary orders. the parties must abide by them for the duration specified in the order. Usually it’s until the final order of the court is entered, but the court has discretion in setting a deadline.

How much will the court order them to pay?

Texas courts use uniform, state-wide guidelines to calculate child support payments. For child support purposes, the definition of “income” includes wages, salary, commissions, tips, overtime, and bonuses, all added up to determine gross income. Net income is then calculated by subtracting certain items from the parent’s gross income, including social security taxes, state and federal income tax, union dues and health insurance premiums for the children.

Once you have the net income, apply it to the guidelines based on the number of children that need support, as follows:

Number of Children Before the Court

Percentage of Net Resources












More than 40%

What happens if my spouse doesn’t pay?

A temporary order for support is as enforceable as a final order – whether it was signed as agreed, or ordered through hearing. Usually, court orders will be enforceable by contempt proceedings. If the party is found to be in contempt of the court order, the judge can issue a fine, a jail sentence, or both.

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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

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 one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are 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 Houston, Texas, Cypress, 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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