Many people, when they sit down for a consult, want to discuss child support. Almost everyone sees child support not as way to cover their child’s clothing or food expenses but as money to pay for their ex’s new designer shoes, jeans or other expenses. With an economy that has been difficult on many people, child support is an additional expense that is tough to handle and sometimes to accept.

If you are moving to Texas from another state, many people come from states where child support calculations automatically include visitation schedules, time spent with child, income, and parent’s needs. This formula is called the Melson Formula. Other states (a total of 9) use a model similar to Texas called the Percentage of Income Model.


Now, no one came here to find about other states. What does Texas do? Texas calculates child support in a less complicated and easier to understand method. Texas takes your gross income minus any taxes or forced expenses (such as union fees) and then applies a percentage which starts at twenty percent (20%) for one child and goes up from there depending on the required amount of children to support.

So, your responsibility to support other children not part of this custody matter goes into consideration as well. The Texas Attorney General provides a calculator which can help you determine how much your child support will cost. This is located at – If all you are interest in is the basics of child support, there you go! No more is needed, and you can go look at pictures of cats and dogs on the internet.

Now What?

Still here? Okay, then you have more questions. Before you go any further, remember all orders have basic requirements regarding child support and changes in employment and some have greater requirements. Read it. Make sure you do not violate the order as many people end up in a courtroom for contempt of court simply by not having read or understood their order. Now how about answering your questions, huh?

Let’s talk about different custody plans and child support. You say, “we aren’t doing a typical custody plan because we split the time with our children fifty-fifty (50/50), forty-sixty (40/60), or we don’t follow our custody order at all as I’m keeping the child over at my house most of the time now.” Doesn’t this factor into determining my child support payments? Yes. Will it change my payments? Maybe. Even though Texas uses a percentage formula, under certain circumstances and depending on which county, court, judge and lawyer on the other side you see, your child support could go up or down based on your time with your child.

However, If you spend almost no time with the child it can definitely go up. If you spend way more time with your child (like a fifty-fifty custody split), child support typically goes down. This sounds like a typical lawyer answer that isn’t an answer, but situations, facts and decision makers can be different for each case. Much like your job where not everyone sees the same situation the same way, judges don’t all see child support the same way and different counties may have different views as a whole.

Other Issues

When it comes to changes in income, what should you do? Are you paying child support and your income has gone up or down? Has your ex’s income changed, and you just found out? If it has gone up or down by enough to increase or drop your child support amount by twenty percent (20%) or $100.00, then you need a change or modification. Most people who owe child support don’t want to admit they earn more. Most people who get child support don’t want it to go down. If you owe or are receiving child support, look at your order. Most judges remember someone who should be paying more child support and is not. However, you typically can’t get any additional back pay if the ex has a new job making more money, and they should have been paying you an extra $150.00 per month for the past year. In addition, if you should be paying less, it is up to you to get it changed.

Moreover, what if one of us gets remarried? Well congratulations on the marriage! Most likely there will be absolutely no change to child support. Courts see child support as an obligation of the parents, not the step-parents. So, even if your ex is living well with their job, your child support payment and their new partners income as well; you will still have to pay your child support obligation. Now, you and your ex can agree to change the amount of child support you are paying to whatever you want as long as it is agreed to and it is in the best interest of the child or children. You both can do this with the very first order as well.

Finally, why does someone have to pay child support? What’s the point? All child support is based on the idea of a family unit – mom, dad, child or children – living together. Is it considered antiquated by many? Yes. However, this is where it starts. The idea is a mom and dad are both putting their energy, hard work, and income towards the family. Once, one of you is no longer around on a day to day basis, the household has to make up for the expense of childcare, food, school, clothes, travel and other related expenses. Child support covers these expenses. It doesn’t matter if either parent gets married or re-married as far as dropping or dramatically decreasing child support as there is no guarantee that person will be around in a year or more. Child support’s main focus is the two parents and the child or children.

Next Steps

What can you do? Start doing some serious research, talk to an attorney, and/or hire an attorney. If you want to talk to an attorney about child support, but you have no interest in hiring them, tell the attorney! Most should answer a few questions for you at no charge. If you like the attorney, tell a few people they were a swell guy or gal and refer folks to them. It’s your way of “paying” for talking to the attorney. Plus, it’ll motivate the attorney to help out more people and who doesn’t want to be the person who started a “pay it forward” situation? However, you don’t need to promise the attorney you’ll do this.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]