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Texas Child Support Laws

Updated on January 11, 2011

Child Support Guidelines and Statutes in Texas

Like every state, Texas has its own separate child support laws. The state legislature passes the Texas child support guidelines, and the Attorney General's office handles enforcement of the state laws on support, including assistance for the filing of lawsuits and collection of actual Texas child support payments. Those who are interested in determining the rights and duties related to child support should get famliar with the Texas child support laws and how the Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General's office deals with this vital social and legal issue.

First of all, you can actually read the Texas child support laws (as passed by the Texas legislature in Austin) online. These laws are commonly called the "Texas child support guidelines" but are actually a set of statutes. Naturally, though, the guidelines are complex and full of minute details about how a judge is supposed to award support, how the Attorney General enforces support and other issues.

Note: Sources of Texas laws online often change, and the law also changes. The link above is provided only as a helpful resource to get started on researching Texas child support laws.

If you are only looking for information about how much you can get paid in Texas child support payments or how much you may have to pay as an obligor (paying parent in a support case), then you don't really need to read all of the Texas child support laws. Rather, you can just get the basic gist of how child support works.

First, you can be sued (often with the assistance of the Attorney General) if someone says you are the parent of a child. You really have no choice but to do a blood test at that point because the judge will likely find that you are the father, anyway, if you refuse.

Paternity and child support can be sought in the same lawsuit. So if we assume that paternity is established, then the Texas laws require the judge to order some type of support. Then, the judge bases an award on the obligor's "net resources." This generally means the income, but it is possible for other assets to be included in this equation.

After the judge figures the net income, then the obligor generally pays a percentage of that in Texas child support as follows:

1. 20% for one child;

2. 25% for two children (total of 25%, not 25% each);

3. 30% for three children;

4. 35% for four children'

5. 40% for five children and at least 40% for six or more children.

These are the basic guidelines, but the court generally also orders medical insurance, at least where it is reasonably available. The insurance is in addition to the basic child support in the guidelines above. You may also use a Texas child support calculator to estimate future payment obligations.

Of course, there are all sorts of exceptions and other considerations in the complete Texas child support laws. The guidelines only tell the basic story because they are not a rigid Texas child support formula that is set in stone. It is advisable that you get the help of the Attorney General Texas Child Support Division or a Texas family lawyer to help you with more difficult questions.

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