Texas child support guidelines changed as of September 1, 2013. This is a normal increase which occurs every six years. The next automatic increase will happen in 2019.
The percentages have not changed, only the maximum monthly net amount changed. The old maximum amount was capped at $7,500 monthly net income for the paying parent. The new maximum amount is $8,550 monthly net income for the parent paying the support. The person who has to pay the child support is called the “Obligor.”
Child support guidelines are established by Texas statute. The law provides:
However, if the Obligor is paying child support for other children from a previous relationship, you need to use the Multiple Family Adjusted Guidelines.
What is Monthly Net Income?
Child support is calculated based on the Obligor’s net income not gross income. Net income is Gross (or Total) Income – Social Security & Federal income taxes – any State income taxes – any union dues – costs for child’s health insurance or medical support. Gross income is all income received and includes, among other things: all wages, tips, bonuses, commissions; interest and royalties; severance pay, gifts, prizes; and, child support, alimony, and spousal maintenance. Gross income does not include any income from a new spouse.
The increase only affects obligors whose gross monthly income is between $10,340.50 per month ($124,086 a year) or more.
My Ex Makes That Much. How Do I Get Child Support Increased?
Child support does not automatically go up. The Attorney General’s Office is supposed to review child support orders every three years. Unfortunately they are severely overworked and understaffed. If you want your child support increased, you will need to: (1) Get the Obligor to voluntarily agree to pay a higher amount; (2) Go to the Attorney General yourself and ask them to pursue an increase for you; or (3) Have your attorney file a Petition to Modify. The fastest method is for you to hire an attorney experienced in family law matters.
Does Child Support Have to Be Set to Guidelines?
Absolutely not. The parties can agree to an amount higher or lower. Perhaps you agree on a lower amount and the Obligor pays private school tuition. There are any number of ways to provide support. The courts, and the Attorney General, want to be sure that your children have support that will meet their basic needs for food and shelter and that the children have healthcare available.
These are some of the things courts consider when adjusting child support up or down:
A child support calculator is available on the Attorney General’s website: https://www.oag.state.tx.us/cs/calculator/index.php.
(See TEXAS FAMILY CODE § 154.125(a))