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The Texas Child Support System: An Overview

Updated: Mar 3, 2024 @ 7:21 pm

Less than 1 minute Reading Time: Minutes

In Texas, child support is a legal obligation, not a choice. Title 5, Chapter 154 of the Texas Family Code seeks to ensure that children receive consistent financial support from non-custodial parents. But it’s not as straightforward as it seems. There are varying factors and other complications that you would be wise to know about.

If you have questions, or would like to schedule a free consultation to meet with our child support lawyers regarding your particular situation, contact our law firm today at 409-904-0043.

The Calculation Conundrum

How much should a non-custodial parent pay?

Texas Family Courts use a percentage model based on the payer’s net income and the number of children needing support to calculate the amount the non-custodial parent must pay.

In some sense, the amount to paid is calculated on a sliding scale. For one child, it’s 20% of the net resources, increasing with each additional child. But, it’s capped!

The Texas legislature set a cap on the amount of net resources to be considered, adjusted every six years for inflation. For the latest figures, review the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division’s website.

Beyond the Basics

Other Considerations

Child support isn’t just a monthly payment. Child support dues may cover health insurance, medical expenses, and even travel costs for visitation. The goal of Texas Family Court is to ensure the child’s holistic well-being.

Modifications and Enforcement

In life, things change. Child support orders aren’t immune to change and can be modified.

Modifying Child Support

If you lose your job, parent a new baby, or have a significant salary hike, it could be grounds for a child support order modification.

Either parent can file a petition for modification if there’s a substantial change in circumstances.

But, there’s a catch – you can only file for modification once every three years unless there’s a significant income change or the current support differs by 20% or $100 from the guidelines.


Missed child support payments are a serious issue. Texas Family Code section §157.261 allows for various enforcement methods. These methods include wage withholding, liens on property, or even license suspension.

Special Scenarios

Every family’s story is unique, and so are the challenges in child support cases. If you have special circumstances, talk with Attorney Tad Nelson or Amber Spurlock immediately. We can be reached at 409-904-0043.

Self-Employment and Irregular Income

Calculating child support for self-employed parents that have fluctuating incomes can be challenging. Courts look at average income, potential earning capacity, and sometimes, a little bit of legal intuition when determining payment orders.

When Parents Live in Different States

Interstate child support cases add obvious complications to the situation. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) is the legal mechanism which allows states to establish child support orders in other states.

Interstate Child Support cases have inherent complications. These cases are best handled by experienced child support lawyers. We’re able to provide excellent counsel in these situations. If you have questions, get in touch with us today.

Tad Nelson & Associates

The Galveston County Child Support Lawyers

At Tad Nelson & Associates, we’ve seen it all. We’ve been at this since 1991. Tad Nelson’s extensive experience, coupled with Amber Spurlock’s insight, positions our law firm as a leader is effectively handling complex family litigation matters.

Whether it’s a straightforward child support calculation or a convoluted case with unique challenges, we’re here to provide the professional guidance you’ll need to ensure your best interests are recognized.

Our law firm is based in Galveston and we have an office in League City.

Got questions about Texas child support or another family law challenge? We’re just a phone call away. Call Tad Nelson & Associates today at 409-904-0043.

Know your options.

We provide affordable attorney’s fees, flexible payment solutions, and outstanding legal representation. If you have any questions, give us a call.



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