That depends. Child support is based on a percentage of net resources. Net resources is gross monthly income minus several mandatory deductions. The main deductions include social security taxes, federal income tax, (based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one personal exemption and the standard deduction), state income tax, union dues, and expenses for health insurance of the child.
Then net resources, the difference between gross monthly income and deductions, is multiplied by the applicable rate. For instance, if you have one child it’s 20% of net resources; two children 25%; three children 30%; four children 35%; five children 40%, and if you have six or more children, then it’s not less than 40%. However, if you have the duty to support other children that are not before the court, the above percentages will be reduced.
Although there are some exceptions, for the most part a cap means that you won’t be charged at the applicable rate above the cap amount. Up until September, that percentage only applied to monthly net resources up to $7,500. Now that percentage applies to monthly net resources until $8,550.
For some individuals who make more than $7,500, this means that you will continue to be charged your current amount of child support plus an additional amount at the applicable percentage for amounts over $7,500 up until $8,550.
On the other hand, for a small percentage of parents though, $8,550 may not even be the cap. As always, the court can order child support over $8,550 based on proven needs of the child and the income of the parties. Proven needs are not limited to the “bare necessities of life” and not determined by the parent’s ability to pay or lifestyle of the family. Some of the needs that may be proven include but are not limited to costs for extracurricular activities (i.e. sports, church activities, and music lessons), car/transportation expenses, cell phones, cable, internet, tutoring, medical expenses including counseling and special medical therapies, and many more.
But this doesn’t mean that everyone who makes more than $7,500 will be affected. First, the amount of support can only change if the child support order is modified. If the other parent doesn’t petition the court for a modification, then your child support will stay the same.
Second, parties can also agree to child support below the guidelines as long as the amount isn’t so low that it is not in the best interests of the child.
In summary, just because the child support cap has increased doesn’t mean that your child support will increase too—it depends on your situation. To determine what your new liabilities may be or to determine if seeking a modification is right for you, contact experienced family law attorney Chante Prox at (817)-649-2700.
Disclaimer: This information should not be considered as legal advice. Decisions should be based on consultation with a licensed attorney. This blog is for informative purposes only.
Chante Prox is a family law attorney and mediator practicing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area @ www.barnesproxlaw.com.