Except in extremely rare cases, one parent will be ordered to provide financial support for the child and we call that child support. The obligation to pay child support remains until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school - whichever is later. As most children turn 18 during their senior year, child support continues until graduation. There are some circumstances where child support can remain in place after that time frame. This is usually in circumstances where the child has special medical needs or disabilities.
Terms: In child support orders you will often see "Obligor" and "Obligee". The Obligor is the one who pays the child support. The Obligee receives the child support.
Texas uses a percentage of net income to determine the amount of child support that should be paid. Generally, a parent pays a percent of their monthly net income. Net income doesn’t necessarily mean what is on the paycheck. To determine net income for child support purposes you only deduct income taxes, cost of health insurance for those children and some other possible deductions. You do not deduct withholding from retirement. After these deductions, you apply a certain percent to the net Income. It is 20% for one child, 25% total for two children and so forth. If a parent is legally responsible for other children, then the percentage is reduced. If James has two children with Nancy and one child with Jennifer, then James pays 22.5% to Nancy and 16% to Jennifer. Multiple children with multiple parents gets extremely expensive very fast.
The court will order a Wage Withholding Order. This orders the Employer to withhold the child support from the paycheck and send it to the Child Support Disbursement Unit. The Disbursement Unit collects the child support, makes a record of the payment and then sends it to the other parent. This takes time to set up and there is usually a lag of a week or more for the payment is received by the other parent. It is the responsibility of the Obligor to update the court and the disbursement unit of any changes in employment. If you lose your job, the child support doesn’t suddenly stop. You still have to pay every month. If you encounter a significant reduction in your income you can file a motion with the court to modify and decrease the child support. If you are receiving child support and you believe the Obligor is making significantly more money then you can also file a motion to modify to increase the child support. Child Support is an independent obligation. The child support must be paid even if the parent isn’t exercising visitation with the child.