Child support payments help to ensure that children of divorced parents receive the financial support that is needed for basic provisions like shelter, food, and medical care. Whether you are the person who is making or receiving child support payments, respectively known as the obligor and obligee, it’s important for you to be aware of Texas’ maximum child support limits. If you have any questions about how child support works in Texas, or need help resolving a child support dispute, contact the Dallas family law lawyers of Queenan Law for a free consultation.
What Are Net Resources for Calculating Child Support Payments in Houston?
Child support and other matters related to divorce and custody are handled by Texas’ family courts. Various statutes under the Texas Family Code create rules, guidelines, and procedures that govern how child support is calculated in Texas. For instance, Texas Family Code § 154.001 on child support outlines how long parents may be ordered to make child support payments, including parents whose parental rights have been terminated.
Child support arrangements are different for every family, depending on factors like:
- Whether parents are paid by the hour or receive a salary.
- Whether parents are self-employed.
- Whether the child requires additional financial support for medical care.
- The total number of children in the family.
Family courts use these and other factors to determine a suitable monthly payment amount, though this process can be complicated if, as is sometimes the case, there is a major disagreement between the parents on how much financial support is necessary and appropriate. Because every family approaches this issue from a different medical and financial background – and because some families are simply larger than others – the payments specified in the support order can range dramatically.
However, regardless of the variations from family to family, there are still certain guidelines that apply across the board in order to preserve the child’s best interests, which is the key factor that family courts use as a compass when making their decisions. Child support is determined in part by “net resources,” which means your “total earnings, minus Social Security taxes, income taxes for a single person, and dependent health insurance.”
Under Texas Family Code § 154.062(c), net resources exclude:
- Accounts receivable
- Foster care payments
- Return of principal or capital
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program benefits
Texas Increases Monthly Child Support Caps for High-Income Obligors
As our article on calculating child support explained, support calculations are based on a percentage of the obligor’s net resources, depending on the number of children: 20% for one child, 25% for two children, and so on, with a minimum of 40% for six or more children (“Not less than the amount for five children,” which is 40%).
However, the cap on net resources, from which these percentages are determined, changes with time. For instance, the cap was $7,500 prior to 2013, meaning:
- 1 child (20%) = $1,500 per month
- 2 children (25%) = $1,875 per month
- 3 children (30%) = $2,250 per month
- 4 children (35%) = $2,625 per month
- 5 children (40%) = $3,000 per month
- 6 or more children (at least 40%) = at least $3,000 per month
In 2013, the cap was raised by $1,050, increasing from $7,500 to $8,550, in order to account for the rising cost of living. However, the 2013 increase only applies to high-income earners, meaning people whose gross monthly resources are between $10,340.50 and $11,828.81.
The new $8,550 cap that was implemented in 2013 was to remain in effect for six years, which means that, for high-income obligors, Texas’ cap on net resources for determining child support in 2016 is $8,550 (and will remain so until 2019). To reiterate, that is not the maximum monthly payment amount, merely the maximum amount from which percentages may be determined, based on number of children, for high earners.
Here is how maximum monthly child support payments in Texas in 2016 would break down after the 2013 increase for high earners, based on how many children there are in your family:
- 1 child (20%) = $1,710 per month
- 2 children (25%) = $2,137.50 per month
- 3 children (30%) = $2,565 per month
- 4 children (35%) = $2,992.50 per month
- 5 children (40%) = $3,420 per month
- 6 or more children (at least 40%) = at least $3,420 per month
While these guidelines generally apply for high-income obligors, there are some exceptions in situations where the obligor is already making child support payments for other children. In such cases, the percentages are slightly reduced.
Contact Our Dallas Divorce Attorneys for Help Settling a Child Support Dispute
If you need help resolving a child support dispute, count on the compassionate yet aggressive Dallas divorce lawyers of Queenan Law for guidance and representation. We have over 20 years of experience helping mothers and fathers fight for the support their children need and deserve.
We handle child support disputes and other family law matters in Dallas, Houston, Arlington, and Fort Worth. If you need assistance with any legal matters related to a divorce, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible at (817) 476-1797 to set up a free and completely confidential legal consultation.