Child Support

In any Family Law action involving a minor child, a decision has to be made about how to meet the child’s financial needs. Normally, one parent will pay the other parent an amount of money that is supposed to be used for the benefit of the child (“child support”).

Child support may be paid through periodic payments, lump-sum payments, an annuity purchase, the setting aside of property to be administered for the support of the child, or any combination of these methods. Child support is paid until:

  • The child is 18 years of age or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later;
  • The child is emancipated through marriage or is deemed to be an adult by Court Order or by operation of law;
  • The child dies; or
  • If the child is disabled, then for an indefinite period.

The amount of child support one spouse will pay to the other is ordinarily determined by applying a strict equation set forth in the Family Code to the paying spouse’s net monthly financial resources.  The “child support guidelines” are generally applied as follows (assuming the paying spouse has net monthly resources of less than $7,500.00, and is not obligated to support other children):

One child 20% of net monthly resources
Two children 25% of net monthly resources
Three children 30% of net monthly resources
Four children 35% of net monthly resources
Five children+ Not less than 40% of net monthly resources


Key concepts relating to child support are:

  • Child support can be automatically withheld from the disposable earnings of the paying parent;
  • The paying spouse cannot dictate how the receiving spouse spends his/her child support payments (often a source of great frustration!);
  • Some parents create customized plans for meeting their child’s financial needs that may or may not include a payment of monthly child support;
  • Child support payments are not deductible by the paying party;
  • The party paying child support will ordinarily provide health insurance for the child, as well;
  • A court has no authority to order a parent to pay for a child’s college expenses.