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Veterans and Child Support

This article provides basic information about how child support is calculated, and information on child support issues—specifically for veterans. This article was written by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

What part of my income can be withheld for child support?

With few exceptions, child support is based on net income from all sources, not only wages. Texas employers are required to withhold child support from an employee’s wages if that employee is under a court order to pay child support. For servicemembers, child support is withheld through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS)

From Veterans and Child Support by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

Other Withholding Categories

In addition to current child support, withholding can also include:

  • medical support (cost of health insurance, CHIP, Medicaid) and
  • arrearages (past due, or “back” child support).

Depending on the facts, the court may order:

  • retroactive child support—up to 4 years’ worth;
  • spousal maintenance—(not alimony) depending on duration of marriage and other factors.

From Veterans and Child Support by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

Sources of Income: Can they be withheld?

From Veterans and Child Support by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid:


Child Support Withholding

Employment Income: wages, overtime, tips, bonuses, commissions, self-employment


VA Disability Pay


Social Security Disability (SSDI)


Workers’ Compensation Benefits


Social Security Retirement


Unemployment Benefits


Supplemental Security Income (SSI)


VA Pension


How is the amount of child support calculated?

It depends on the number of children you have a duty to support and whether you have children in more than one household. Look at the tables below, which are also linked to here. For example, if you have only one child, the Basic Child Support is 20% of your net monthly income. If you have one child living with you at home and two children living elsewhere under a child support order, the Multiple Family Guidelines apply and you’d pay 16% of your net monthly income.

From Veterans and Child Support by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

Child Support Guidelines

Basic CHILD SUPPORT  % Net monthly                        

Number of children    1               2                3                4                5                6

                                 20%           25%           30%           35%           40%          40%



                                    Number of children before the court

                                    1                2                3                4                5                6                 

Number of                  0               20%           25.00         30.00         35.00         40.00                 

other                         1                17.50         22.50         27.38         32.20         37.33                 

children for                2                16.00         20.63         25.20        30.33        35.43                 

whom the                   3               14.75         19.00         24.00         29.00         34.00        

obligor                        4                13.60         18.33         23.14         28.00         32.89                 

has a                          5                13.33         17.86         22.50         27.22         32.00                 

duty of                       6                13.14         17.50         22.00         26.60         31.27                 

support                      7                13.00         17.22         21.60         26.09         30.67                 


From Veterans and Child Support by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

My children receive dependent benefits due to my disability. How is my child support calculated?

The court will figure out how much child support you’re obligated to pay under the child support guidelines, and then subtract the amount of benefits paid to or for the child as a result of your disability. Your child support is the amount that remains after your child’s benefits are subtracted.

From Veterans and Child Support by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.


How long do I have to pay support?

Usually the support obligation 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 arrearages, you must continue payments, plus interest, until it’s paid in full. Back child support (arrearages) is not forgiven when the child becomes an adult. Even terminating parental rights won’t erase the obligation to pay past-due child support.

From Veterans and Child Support by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

Can’t I just send money to the custodial parent?

No. Texas law requires support payments go through the Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit (SDU) in San Antonio. The SDU records your payment then sends it on to the custodial parent. Payments not sent through the SDU are not credited against what you owe, and might even be considered a “gift”. The parents split the cost of uninsured medical expenses, like braces, dental and eye care, co-pays, and therapy, 50/50. Reimbursement goes to the parent that incurred the expense, not through the SDU.

From Veterans and Child Support by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

We don’t have a child support order. Why is the Attorney General involved?

If your child receives food stamps, Medicaid, WIC, or other state services, the Texas Attorney General Child Support Division automatically has the right to establish and enforce child support in order to offset the cost of those services. This is true regardless of whether the parents want it or not.

From Veterans and Child Support by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

Is my Texas child support order enforceable outside of Texas?

Yes. Every state is required to uphold the child support orders of another state. For example, a Texas child support order can be enforced in Virginia and vice versa. Depending on the country, it can also be enforced internationally.

From Veterans and Child Support by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.