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Texas child support orders

In Texas, courts consider a number of factors when determining the appropriate amount of child support to be ordered. Generally, the custodial parent is normally owed child support payments from the non-custodial parent.

The amount that will be owed depends on the non-custodial parent's income, the number of children shared by the parents and the number of additional children for whom the non-custodial parent is also paying child support. Under no circumstances will a non-custodial parent be ordered to pay more than 50 percent of his or her net income in child support.

If a couple only had one child and the person is not paying support for any others, he or she will be ordered to pay 20 percent of their monthly net income in support. For two children, the amount is raised to 25 percent. For three children, it increases to 30 percent and subsequently increases by five percent for each additional child. Other factors considered by the court include whether the non-custodial parent is purposely unemployed or underemployed and what their earning potential is.

Parents owe a duty to support their children and should not try to avoid paying court-ordered child support. If a person's financial circumstances have changed since an earlier child support order, he or she should notify the court by filing a post-dissolution motion to modify child support in order to try to get the amount adjusted. If a custodial parent is owed child support and the other parent refuses to pay, he or she may wish to seek the help of a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to assist their client by filing a motion for contempt with the court and representing their client's and the child's best interests by helping to secure the owed child support amounts.

Source: State Bar of Texas, "Pro Se Divorce Handbook", October 21, 2014

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