Child Support & Medical Support
Learn how to calculate child support, where it comes from, how long child support lasts, when and why the Office of the Attorney General may be involved, and more.
What resources are counted for child support?
With few exceptions, child support is based on net income from all sources. Your employer is required by law to withhold child support from your wages, and, if ordered, medical support and back child support. Read Texas Family Code 154.061 and 154.062 for a full list of net resources.
What income is subject to child support withholding?
|Income subject to child support withholding|
|Wages, overtime, tips, bonuses, commissions, self-employment income||Yes|
|Social Security Disability (SSDI); VA Disability||Yes|
|Social Security Retirement||Yes|
|Worker's Compensation Benefits||Yes|
|Self-employment from ride sharing or delivery apps (starting September 1, 2021)||Yes|
|Supplemental Security Income (SSI)||No|
What can be withheld from a paycheck in addition to current child support?
In addition to current child support, withholding may include:
- medical support (cost of health insurance, CHIP, Medicaid)
- dental support (cost of dental insurance)
- arrearages (past due or “back” child support)
- retroactive child support (support from parents' separation until orders are made by the court).
What is the basic guideline for child support?
|Number of Children||1||2||3||4||5+|
|% Net monthly income||20%||25%||30%||35%||40%|
|a duty of||5||13.33%||17.86%||22.50%||27.22%||32%|
How long do I have to pay support?
Usually, child support ends when the last child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. If your child has a disability, it might last longer.
Note: if you owe back child support (arrearages), payments will continue even after the child turns 18–until the debt plus interest is paid in full. Terminating parental rights will not erase child support arrearages.
Read Texas Family Code 154.006 for more.
How can I change the amount of child support?
To increase or decrease support, you must show a change in circumstances for the child or either party since the entry of the last child support order. Read Changing a Child Support Order for more information.
If you want to modify (change) your child support, use our child support modification guide. You can also ask the Office of Attorney General Child Support Division (OAG) to review the amount of current support if it’s been at least three years since the last child support order and the current amount varies from the child support guidelines by 20% or $100.
Why can’t I send child support directly to the custodial parent?
For court-ordered child support, the law requires payments to go through the Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit (SDU) so it is recorded before forwarding the payment to the custodial parent.
Payments sent to the custodial parent are not automatically credited against the child support obligation, and might even be considered a "gift."
We don’t have a child support order. Why is the Attorney General involved?
If your child receives food stamps, Medicaid, WIC, or other government benefits, the OAG has the right to file for a child support order to offset the cost of those services, even if the parents don’t apply for support.
Do I have to pay support if my child gets dependent benefits based on my disability?
Possibly. Disability payments are subject to child support withholding. The court will use the child support guidelines (above) and subtract (offset) the amount of benefits paid to or for the child as a result of your disability.
Can a Texas child support order be enforced in other states?
Yes. Every state is required to uphold the child support orders of another state under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Depending on the country, it can also be enforced internationally.
If you want to learn more, read Interstate Child Support Issues: Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA).
What if we don’t agree on child support?
If you and the other party do not agree on child support your case is contested. It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer if your case is contested.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) may also be able to help. Although the OAG cannot represent either parent, the OAG can ask a judge to make an order for child support, medical support, custody, and possession.
Once there is a final court order for custody and support of your children and you need a divorce, you can use the guide I need a divorce. We have minor children. A final custody and support order is already in place.
For information about opening a case with the OAG, call 800-255-8014 or visit their website.
I need a custody order. I am the child's parent (SAPCR).
Child Custody & Visitation
I need to change a custody, visitation, or support order (Modification).
Child Custody & Visitation
I need a custody order. I am not the child's parent (SAPCR).
Child Custody & Visitation
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Changing a Custody, Visitation or Child Support OrderThis article answers frequently asked questions about changing an existing custody, visitation, child support, medical support, or dental support o...
What to Expect in Child Support (IV-D) CourtThis article explains what to expect if you are ordered to appear in a IV-D Court (also known as child support court).
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