What Is the Cap on Texas Child Support Payments?
The answer to this question would be much easier to explain if the Texas Family Code actually indicated an absolute cap on child support payments. But as the law would have it, there is no such maximum amount on child support for obligor parents.
The Family Code, however, does provide guidelines on how to calculate child support payments, which are presumed to be in the child’s best interest. This was further clarified in the case, In the Interest of V.J.A.O., A Child, which saw the court re-affirming right of trial courts to set payment amounts beyond what is presumed to be in the best interest of the child.
In other words, while child support payments are calculated based on the supporting parent’s net income (after taxes), starting at 20 percent for one child and increasing by 5 percent for every additional child, the court can set payments above these percentages whenever it sees fit to do so.
To understand all this, we must first look at the state’s child support guidelines. You may consult Austin family law attorney Daniella Lyttle for a comprehensive explanation of these guidelines.What Are the Texas Child Support Guidelines?
The amount of child support obligor parents in Texas must pay depends on three primary factors:
- The income of the supporting parent;
- The number of children to be supported;
- The needs of each child.
Furthermore, the Texas Child Support Guidelines state that the support cap will depend on the obligor parent’s net resources. When a parent ordered to pay child support only has a monthly net income (i.e. net resources) of $8,550 or less, the amount of support is calculated using a percentage of the said amount. As mentioned earlier, payments will start at 20 percent, increasing by 5-percent increments for every other child requiring support.Special Factors That May Push Child Support Above or Below the Guideline Amount
Note that these percentages do not consider special factors, such as, but not limited to the following:
- Age of the child/children
- Special needs of the child/children
- Education expenses of the child beyond secondary school
- Health insurance and payment of medical expenses not covered by insurance
- Unusual healthcare, educational, or other expense of the child or their parties
- Each party’s period of access or possession of the child
- The ability of each party’s ability to contribute to supporting the child
- Spousal maintenance paid by the obligor parent
- Spousal maintenance received by one spouse
- Earning capacity of the supporting parent if found to be intentionally unemployed or underemployed
- Benefits paid by the employer, another person, or a business, such as a vehicle, house, or other incentives
- Additional deductions to monthly income beyond what has been factored to calculate net monthly resources
- Cash flow from businesses, investments, real property, or personal property
- Debt assumed by either parent
Given these factors, the judge may adjust child support amounts to be lower or higher than what is stated in the Texas Family Code.In Summary
What all this means is that there is no such thing as an absolute cap on the amount of child support an obligor parent is required to pay. While the Guidelines provide a maximum amount of support for one child, the court may use a proven need to increase support amounts under extraordinary circumstances.
If you would like to learn more about the different factors that may affect child support amounts, we encourage you to get in touch with family law attorney Daniella Lyttle of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today at (512) 215-5225, or use our contact form to schedule a consultation.