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Tex Parte Blog story: Texas child support? There's an app for that.

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Filing for Child Support in Texas?
Calculating Texas Child Support

Filing for Child Support in Texas? by Jimmy L. Verner, Jr.

For cases filed after September 1, 2007, child support will go up, depending on one's income level.  In House Bill 448, the Texas legislature made three changes to child support:

1.   Although child support percentages remain the same, the "net resources" ceiling will increase from $6,000 to $7,500.  This means that the percentages will be applied up to $7,500 in net resources instead of just to the first $6,000 of net resources.

    The child support percentages are:

 1 child  20% of net resources
 2 children
 25% of net resources
 3 children
 30% of net resources
 4 children
 35% of net resources
 5 children
 40% of net resources
 6+ children
 Not less than the amount for 5 children

2.  The second change is that the net resources ceiling ($7,500) is to be adjusted every six years to reflect inflation, according to the Consumer Price Index.

    These changes are part of amended Texas Family Code section 154.125.  The third change - requiring pro rata calculation of dependent health insurance - is reflected in Texas Family Code sections 154.182 and 154.183:

3.  The Juvenile Justice & Family Issues Committee Report describes this third major change:

Provides that in calculating expenses for health insurance coverage, if the obligor has other minor dependents covered under the same health coverage the court shall divide the total cost to the obligor of the coverage by the total number of dependents, including the child that is the subject of the order.

None of this applies if a case is pending prior to September 1, 2007.  Only if the case is filed on or after that date do these changes apply.

Jimmy L. Verner, Jr.
Verner & Brumley, P.C.
3131 TurtleCreek Blvd.
Penthouse Suite
Dallas, Texas 75219
214.526.5234
214.526.0957.fax
jverner@vernerbrumley.com
www.vernerbrumley.com

Board Certified, Family & Civil Trial Law
Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Also admitted in New Mexico

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Calculating Texas Child Support by Jimmy L. Verner, Jr.

Child support is set by guidelines in Texas. The guidelines are presumed to be applicable in the absence of evidence otherwise. The fact that the guidelines are precise (at least to a point) assists the parties, the lawyers and the courts in setting child support.

1. Calculating Child Support

Child support is calculated based on the "net resources" of the one paying child support, who is called the "obligor." Generally speaking, "net resources" is take-home pay. Basically, federal income taxes for a person claiming himself or herself as the only dependent are subtracted from the obligor's salary, as is the out-of-pocket cost of medical insurance for the children, and then a percentage is applied to the figure reached.

The same sort of system is applied to persons who are self-employed, but additional taxes are subtracted because self-employed persons must pay both employer's and employee's share of social security taxes.

The percentage applied depends on how many children there are from this marriage, as well as how many other kids there are that the obligor must support - in other words, children from a prior marriage or born out of wedlock.

By way of example, here are the percentages for varying numbers of children of the marriage:

  • 1 child - 20%
  • 2 children - 25%
  • 3 children - 30%
  • 4 children - 30%
  • 5 children - 40%
  • 6+ children - 40% +
As of September 1, 2007, the amounts to which the percentages apply top out at net resources of $7,500 per month. Prior to that time, the amount equaled $6,000 per month.

2. How Long Does It Last?

Generally speaking, child support is payable until a child reaches 18 years of age or, if a regularly enrolled student, graduates from high school. If a child still in high school also takes junior college courses, the child is considered still in high school. When there is more than one child, child support "stair-steps" down as each child reaches 18 or graduates from high school. There is no requirement that child support continue through college or be available to pay college tuition.

3. Medical Insurance

The obligation to pay child support carries with it the obligation to provide medical insurance for the children, or if that insurance is not readily available through employment, to reimburse the ex-spouse for the cost of carrying the children on the ex-spouse's insurance. If the ex-spouse has no insurance or cannot carry the child on the insurance available, then ultimately the obligor must go out and purchase medical insurance for the children. The cost of the medical insurance is not offset against child support although it may be taken into account in determining child support.

Jimmy L. Verner, Jr.
Verner & Brumley, P.C.
3131 TurtleCreek Blvd.
Penthouse Suite
Dallas, Texas 75219
214.526.5234
214.526.0957.fax
jverner@vernerbrumley.com
www.vernerbrumley.com

Board Certified, Family & Civil Trial Law
Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Also admitted in New Mexico

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