Child Custody and Child Support: Understanding the Connection in Texas

Child custody and child support are two closely intertwined aspects of family law that play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of children following divorce or separation. In Texas, the connection between child custody and child support is significant, with custody arrangements often directly impacting child support obligations. In this informative guide, we’ll explore the relationship between child custody and child support in Texas, providing valuable insights for parents navigating these complex legal issues.

Determining Custodial Arrangements

In Texas, child custody arrangements are typically categorized as either sole or joint custody. Sole custody may be awarded to one parent (sole managing conservatorship), while joint custody (joint managing conservatorship) involves both parents sharing decision-making authority regarding the child. The custody arrangement established by the court can influence the calculation of child support obligations.

Calculation of Child Support

Child support in Texas is calculated based on the non-custodial parent’s income and the number of children requiring support. The Texas Family Code provides guidelines for determining child support amounts, taking into account factors such as the parents’ incomes, health insurance costs, and childcare expenses. The custodial arrangement, including the amount of time each parent spends with the child, can impact the calculation of child support.

Offsetting Child Support

In cases of joint custody where the child spends significant time with both parents, Texas courts may offset child support obligations. This means that instead of one parent paying child support to the other, the higher-earning parent may be required to pay a reduced amount of support based on a percentage of their income. The offsetting mechanism aims to ensure fairness and equity in child support arrangements.

Modification of Child Support

Changes in custodial arrangements, such as a shift from sole to joint custody or changes in the amount of time each parent spends with the child, may warrant modifications to child support orders. If there is a substantial change in circumstances affecting the child’s living arrangements or the parents’ financial circumstances, either parent may petition the court for a modification of child support.

Enforcement of Child Support

Failure to comply with child support orders can have serious consequences, including legal penalties and enforcement actions by the Texas Attorney General’s Office. The custodial parent has the right to seek enforcement of child support orders through various means, such as wage garnishment, bank levies, or enforcement hearings.


Child custody and child support are closely linked aspects of family law in Texas, with custody arrangements directly impacting child support obligations. Understanding the connection between child custody and child support is essential for parents navigating divorce or separation proceedings, ensuring that the best interests of the child are prioritized and financial obligations are met.