Class is in session… Child Support 101

Have you been ordered by the court to pay child support? Is your child’s father not helping you take care of the children? Do you have general questions about the Texas child support obligations, payments, or guidelines? Below is the general information from the Texas Family Code that a person needs to know regarding Texas child support.


The Court can order one or both parent to support a child until the earliest of:

  • The child is 18 or graduates high school, whichever is later; or
  • The child is emancipated through marriage, enlistment in the armed forces, or other law; or
  • The death of the child; or
  • If the child disabled, for an infinite period or until the disability is removed.


The court may render an original support order, or modify an existing order, providing child support past the 18th birthday of the child to be paid only if the child is:

  • Enrolled in an accredited secondary school in a program leading toward a high school diploma;
  • Enrolled in courses for joint high school and junior college credit; or
  • Enrolled on a full-time basis in a private secondary school in a program leading toward a high school diploma; and
  • Complying with the minimum attendance requirements of Subchapter C, Chapter 25, Education Code; or
  • Complying with the minimum attendance requirements imposed by the school in which the child is enrolled, if the child is enrolled in a private secondary school.

The request for a support order through high school graduation may be filed before or after the child’s 18th birthday. The order for periodic support may provide that payments continue through the end of the month in which the child graduates.


Although generally child support is paid monthly from the custodial parent to the non-custodial parent, the court may order that child support be paid by:

  • Periodic payments;
  • A lump-sum payment;
  • An annuity purchase;
  • The setting aside of property to be administered for the support of the child as specified in the order; or
  • Any combination of periodic payments, lump-sum payments, annuity purchases, or setting aside of property.

It is important to note that any form of payment other than monthly child support payments based on state guidelines are strongly discouraged as it leaves the room open for further unnecessary litigation.


Child support guidelines apply only to the obligor’s first $8,550 of net monthly resources (starting 9/1/13). If the obligor’s net resources exceed that amount, the court may order additional support only if child has special needs and will never award more than the proven need of the child(ren).

Child support based on this net amount:

  • 1 child a 20% obligor’s NET resources
  • 2 children a 25% obligor’s NET resources
  • 3 children a 30% obligor’s NET resources
  • 4 children a 35% obligor’s NET resources
  • 5+ children a 40% obligor’s Net resources


Alternate guidelines exist for obligors that have pre-existing children.

Multiple Family Adjusted Guidelines
Number of Children Before the Court
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Number of Other Children the Parent has the Duty to Support 0 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 40% 40%
1 17.50% 22.50% 27.38% 32.30% 37.33% 37.71% 38%
2 16% 20.63% 25.20% 30.33% 35.43% 36% 36.44%
3 14.75% 19% 24% 29% 34% 34.67% 35.20%
4 13.60% 18.33% 23.14% 28% 32.89% 33.60% 34.18%
5 13.33% 17.86% 22.50% 27.22% 32% 32.73% 33.33%
6 13.14% 17.50% 22% 26.60% 31.27% 32.00% 32.62%
7 13% 17.22% 21.60% 26.09% 30.67% 31.38% 32%

A.T. Law Firm

If you are considering getting a divorce, it is important to speak with a spousal support attorney in Houston, TX right away to set up a free consultation. If you are considering filing for divorce and need a good family law attorney in Spring, TX, North Houston, Woodlands, Klein, Tomball, Cypress, FM 1960, Galveston, and surrounding areas, call the A.T. Law Firm for a free consultation. We also travel to different counties including but not limited to Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Ford Bend County, Waller County, and Brazoria County. Contact the A.T. Law Office to set up a free consultation.