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Calculating Child Support in Texas

A noncustodial parent is one who may have visitation rights or even a split schedule with his or her children, but with whom the children do not primarily live. If you are a noncustodial parent of children who live in Texas, even if you do not live in Texas yourself, you may be required to pay child support.

In Texas, child support is awarded to the custodial parent to help cover expenses related to raising children. Either parent can apply for child support, regardless of previous marital or relationship status, so long as he or she is the primary custodian of the children.

How Is the Amount of Child Support Owed Determined?

The amount of child support a noncustodial parent is required to pay in Texas is based on a percentage of his or her gross monthly income and resources. You can calculate the amount of child support you may be required to pay by first calculating your annual gross income (income pre-taxes).

To calculate your monthly gross income, simply multiply your weekly wage by 52 if you are paid every week, by 26 if paid every two weeks, by 24 if paid on the same days twice a month, and by 12 if paid monthly. This amount should include all wages and compensation, including tips, overtime, and bonuses.

In addition to gross annual salary, “resources” will be factored into the calculation of monthly child support payments. Resources may include:

  • Interest earned, dividend income, and royalties
  • Income from rental properties
  • All other income sources, including retirement pay, unemployment benefits, and any other source of income

Union dues, income tax, and payments made to a child’s health insurance or medical expenses will be deducted from the noncustodial parent’s income and resources before a child support order is entered.

It is important to remember that only the biological parent’s resources and income are considered in Texas child support calculations. If a noncustodial parent remarries, his or her spouse’s income will not be factored into child support payments.

How Much Child Support do Noncustodial Parents Pay in Texas?

The cap for calculating child support in Texas is $8550 a month. Income and resources over this cap are not considered when calculating the amount of child support a noncustodial parent (obligor) will be required to pay.

Child support for one child is set at 20% of the noncustodial parent’s monthly resources. This amount goes up by 5% with each additional child and can reach 40% of the obligor’s monthly resources for five or more children. Payments are required to continue through each child’s 18th birthday or graduation from high school, whichever comes later. However, the amount of support being paid monthly by the obligor is lowered accordingly as each child reaches one of these milestones.

Is Child Support Considerable a Taxable Expense?

No. If you are the noncustodial parent paying child support, the IRS considers it a personal expense. In the eyes of the IRS, child support is given to the custodial parent to pay for a child's necessities--shoes, clothes, after-school activities, etc.--rather than you paying for them directly. 

However, if you are paying money for medical expenses, you may be able to claim them. It's important that you save all receipts, statements, etc. to prove that you were the one paying for medical expenses. It's also important to inform your tax preparer of any medical expenses you pay so they can properly claim them for you.

Is Child Support Taxable Income in Texas?

Child support is not considered taxable income for the custodial parent receiving it. 

Does the Custodial or Noncustodial Parent Claim the Child on Their Tax Return?

According to the IRS, the parent who has primary custody has the ability to claim the child on their tax return. However, there are certain situations in which the custodial and noncustodial parent can agree to have the noncustodial parent claim the child for tax purposes, including:

  • When the custodial parent has little taxable income compared to the noncustodial parent
  • When there is a 50/50 custodial agreement and one parent makes more money than the other (this will allow them a larger tax break)

Attorney Kutty has significant experience helping both custodial and noncustodial parents navigate the complexities of child support. If you are in need of legal advice regarding child support or any other family law issue, please call the Kutty Law Firm at (713) 955-7477 to schedule a consultation and learn how Mrs. Kutty can help.

Located in Sugar Land, family law attorney Yasmin Kutty serves Houston, The Woodlands, Conroe, Katy, and all surrounding areas of Texas.