How Does Texas Child Support Work?

Child Support is one of most important parts of any divorce case involving children. For most divorcing parents there is a desire to make sure that their children are cared for properly. Part of how is this happens is through child support payments. Parents are assigned financial responsibility for a child even if only one parent has possession of the child.

Texas Child Support

Texas child support is governed by Chapter 154 of the Texas Family Code. A court may order either or both parents to support a child; though usually the non-custodial parent pays the child support, as the custodial parent pays for the daily costs of raising the child. The amount of child support is determined by the court without regard to the sex of the payer or payee, or child; or the marital status of the parents of the child. Child support continues (1) until a child is 18 years of age or until high school graduation, whichever occurs later; (2) until the child is emancipated through marriage, through removal of the disabilities of minority by court order, or by other operation of law; (3) until death of the child; or (4) if the child is disabled as defined in chapter 154 for an indefinite period.


Child support may be paid in a number of ways including periodic payments, a lump sum payment, an annuity purchase, setting aside property to be administered for the support of the child, or any combination of these methods. The court may also order a parent to pay retroactive child support under certain circumstances.

Support payments must be paid to the state disbursement unit as provided by chapter 234, and if made in periodic payments, will be withheld by the payer’s employer. The court can also order a trustee to make disbursements for child support on behalf of a spendthrift or other trust. If disbursement of the assets of the trust is discretionary, the court may order child support payments from the income of the trust, but not from the principal.

Medical Support

Medical support is also provided for the child under child support. The guidelines are based on the assumption that the court will order the person paying child support to provide medical support for the child in addition to child support. The court can order that they provide health insurance for the child or to reimburse the person that is receiving child support the amount of the health insurance premium attributable to the child, if that person is providing health insurance for the child. Health care expenses not paid by insurance are paid by the parents of the child, usually on a 50/50 basis.

A court cannot render an order that ties the payment of child support to access to the child. Courts have held that the non-payment of child support does not allow the custodial parent to withhold possession or access. Similarly, courts have held that not allowing possession or access does not allow the payer to withhold the payment of child support.

Paying child support is an expectation of the State of Texas in a divorce case involving children. How that amount is determined is the subject of another blog, which you canread here. However, it is important for any parent to remember that the parents of a child remain the parents even after the divorce has ended. Therefore, participation in the cost of raising a child is the responsibility of both parents following the divorce.

Source: Texas Family Code Chapter 154