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Is Child Support Based on Income or Net Worth?

Grimes & Fertitta > Family Law  > Child Custody  > Is Child Support Based on Income or Net Worth?

Is Child Support Based on Income or Net Worth?

Woman calculating child support, is child support based on income or net worth?

Is child support based on income or net worth? Estimating the amount of child support an individual will pay can be a complicated process, especially for high-net-worth individuals, but how exactly is it calculated? Are individual assets included in the amount that non-custodial parents are expected to pay? What are other factors that affect my child support payments?

Factors like these are stressful to consider during the already difficult time at the end of a marriage — and for some, the additional stresses of custody battles and resource division can often be too much to bear. If you expect to navigate a divorce amicably, especially one wherein children or assets are shared, you need a family law attorney in Houston to make sure that you and your family are prepared for the future.

The child support experts at Grimes & Fertitta know all about negotiating division of property, custody, and child support, and are here to tell you more about how amounts of child support are calculated.

What factors determine child support in Texas?

There are a few factors that determine child support in Texas, but they all boil down to custody and financial resources. This makes calculating child support sound simple, but this is not the case. Calculation of financial resources for high-net-worth individuals can be dizzying and abstract — and that is before accounting for deductions and special circumstances, which you can count on applying.


In order to determine the amount of child support the custodial parent will receive, the question of who gets child support must first be answered. Child custody is typically determined based on the best interests of the child or children, but with many factors in play, you can end up fighting an uphill child support battle from the custody stage if you don’t have a good child custody lawyer in Houston.

Usually, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the parent that has been granted custody. To calculate child support, the court takes a simple percentage of the non-custodial parent’s net resources, based on how many children child support is being calculated for, and then applies a number of not-so-simple factors to it.

Financial resources

Amount of child support to be paid is calculated based on both the income of the parents and the financial resources of the non-custodial parent. In a high-net-worth divorce, the calculation of financial resources can get particularly complicated — and particularly contentious — due to dividends on investments, capital gains, pensions, annuities, and so on.

Other factors affecting the amount of child support

Some other factors that may need to be accounted for when calculating child support are:

  • Taxes
  • Union dues
  • Travel costs of child visitation
  • Debts or other financial commitments
  • Medical and educational expenses
  • Alimony
  • Other child support expenses of the non-custodial parent

These are only some of the factors taken into consideration during child support payment negotiations. Only skilled child support lawyers will know which factors should be taken on or off of the table, and without guidance, negotiations can quickly turn into ambushes. If you’re looking for expert child support lawyers in Houston, look no further than the attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta, who have been practicing family law — and fighting for fair separation agreements — for a long time.

How much child support do I owe?

The rate at which child support is calculated, based on net resources and the number of children, is as follows:

Number of Children Percentage of net resources
One 20%
Two 25%
Three 30%
Four 35%
Five 40%
Six or Higher At minimum 40%


There are resources that are exempt from inclusion when calculating child support, including but not limited to:

  • Stock dividends, interest
  • Unpaid accounts receivable
  • SNAP or TNAF benefits
  • Income earned by a new spouse
  • Payments gained from providing foster care

Things can get complicated quickly, and if you plan on reaching an agreement that is fair to you, it often means involving a lawyer in negotiations. Clients are often worried that introducing a lawyer into the picture will invite hostility, or believe that they can resolve their child support case amicably without representation. This is usually not the case.

Hiring a professional to oversee the proceedings is the best way to ensure that everyone involved is treated fairly. You owe it to yourself and your family.

Can I eventually pay less child support?

Situations change. Agreements that made sense at the onset of a divorce can become senseless as circumstances change. The non-custodial parent can seek child support amount modifications if they or the custodial parent experience substantial changes in circumstance.

A parent may seek child support modifications for any of the following reasons:

  • The income of the parent paying child support has either increased or decreased significantly
  • The parent paying for child support is legally and financially responsible for other children
  • The child’s medical expenses or insurance coverage has changed
  • The child’s living arrangements have changed

You may be able to file a modification to update your child support payments every three years after the initial agreement. Do not file superficial modification suits, as you can be fined if the court rules that the suits were filed in bad faith. We recommend using an attorney to file modification requests to ensure that the claims are substantive, and to give yourself a better shot.

Need a child support lawyer in Houston? Grimes & Fertitta is here to help.

So the answer to “is child support based on income or net worth?” is not as cut and dry as some would think. Income is a piece of the larger puzzle, that includes assets and other forms of material wealth, that will determine how much child support is appropriate. In any family law case, hiring the best child support lawyer is essential. It is the only way to ensure that your ex-spouse and their attorney do not make critical decisions that could negatively affect you and your children.

Do you need a lawyer for child support? Yes. Call Grimes & Fertitta at (713) 224-7644 or contact us online for a free consultation today.

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