Changes to Child Support in Texas
The glass ceiling on child support is changing effective September 1, 2019 in Texas.
$9200To calculate child suport, the appropriate percentage will be applied to the first $9200 net monthly resources of the person paying child support (the obligor). The cap to which the percentages apply has increased through the years from $4000 to $6000 to $7500 to $8550, and now, to $9200.
How to Caculate?In Texas, we calculate support based on the obligor's income. While unique circumstances arise that can justify a variance from the guidelines, the formula looks like this:
1. Ascertain the obligor's income from all sources, annually, and divide by 12.
2. Assure that in doing so, you have subtracted the required withholding and social security taxes for one person claiming one dependent, the cost of the child(ren)'s dependent health insurance coverage, and any union dues owed by the person paying support. The Texas Office of the Attorney General maintains charts of appropriate deductions.
3. After deducting appropriate amounts, the percentages to apply depend on the number of children before the Court:
1 child = 20%
2 children = 25%
3 children = 30%
4 children = 35%
4. Note that an employer's order to withhold from income for child support can and should be entered concurrently with your applicable order (parentage, divorce, modification).
5. Child support guidelines will vary if the person paying support is obligated to support other minor children who are not before the Court.
Texas Family Code Sections 154.125 and 154.129Texas Family Code Section 154.125 provides in section (a)(1) as follows:
(a-1) The dollar amount prescribed by Subsection (a) is adjusted every six years as necessary to reflect inflation. The Title IV-D agency shall compute the adjusted amount, to take effect beginning September 1 of the year of the adjustment, based on the percentage change in the consumer price index during the 72-month period preceding March 1 of the year of the adjustment, as rounded to the nearest $50 increment. The Title IV-D agency shall publish the adjusted amount in the Texas Register before September 1 of the year in which the adjustment takes effect. For purposes of this subsection, “consumer price index” has the meaning assigned by Section 341.201, Finance Code.
Section 154.129 sets out guidelines to be applied in multiple family scenarios. There is an offset to the percentage applied to the obligor's net monthly resources, depending on the number of other minor children the obligor supports.
Why Deviate From Guidelines?Compelling circumstances may warrant deviating from the guidelines. Do the payor's earnings substantially exceed the proposed cap? Is there a substantial distance between where the parties will be residing? Has the child historically been enrolled in private school? Does the child have demonstrable special needs? Does the child have a special talent?
Intentional Unemployment or UnderemploymentThe Court can and shall consider evidence as to whether the payor is intentionally underemployed or unemployed.
Calculations and ChartsThere is a difference in calculating support for a person who is employed versus being self employed.
Get help from an experienced family law attorney in ascertaining child support in your case.