Is My Child Support Going Up?

            Effective September 1, 2013, the cap on child support in Texas increased $1,050.  You may be asking yourself, “Will my child support go up too?”

            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

             

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One thought on “Is My Child Support Going Up?

  1. This is such a timely post Chante. My ex filed for modification recently. In fact we have a meeting tomorrow with the case worker. I’ve always paid my child support via direct draft right from my pay check. One of my sons is 18 already and will graduate in June. The other one just turned 17.
    As far as I know I have been paying an amount that is more than fair based on what I make. After deductions and health care my net pay check is often half of my gross, and I’m still at the same job. I count it an honor to pay my child support, and I’m very much a part of my boys’ lives. They’re with me every other weekend plus I try to do one on one outings with them separately once a month.

    We filed everything online when we divorced and I did all of the calculations to the letter. In fact I had to estimate my income to some degree because it drops dramatically during the latter months of the year, so I just took the busiest time of the year and used that as my income to base support on. In short it’s based on a monthly net amount that’s higher than what I clear.

    Based on what I take home vs what I’m currently paying in support, healthcare and flex spending, I don’t think my current income would support an increase. I wouldn’t want it decreased for their sake but I don’t see how I could make it with an increase. Do you think the case worker will be able to see that looking at the check stubs and deductions? Are there ever modifications where no change is recommended?

    Like

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