August 13, 2013
By Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director, National Parents Organization
Recently, the Texas legislature amended the Texas Family Code section 154.215 to increase the monthly “cap” on net income used to calculate child support. This change means that, after September 1, 2013, more net resources will be applied to calculate child support, which can increase the monthly amount paid or received.
Texas calculates child support by using an obligor’s “net resources.” This number is found by taking a parent’s gross income and deducting for federal taxes, social security, Medicare, health insurance costs for the child(ren), union dues, and state income tax, if applicable. A percentage is then applied to the net resources.
Texas uses the following percentages to determine the obligor’s payments:
1 child: 20% of Obligor's Net Resources
2 children: 25% of Obligor's Net Resources
3 children: 30% of Obligor's Net Resources
4 children: 35% of Obligor's Net Resources
5 children: 40% of Obligor's Net Resources
6+ children: Not less than the amount for 5 children
The formula also takes into consideration whether the parent is paying for children from other relationships, and other factors.
Texas places a cap on the amount of net resources used to calculate child support. Currently, the cap is met when a parent’s net resources reach $7,500.00 per month. The legislative change going into effect on September 1, 2013, will raise this cap from $7,500 to $8,550 to adjust to inflation according to the Consumer Price Index. This change could greatly increase the amount of monthly child support for one child by over $200 per month, over $260 for two children, and over $315 for three children.
The Texas Family Code states that grounds for a modification of child support exists when the new amount awarded would differ by 20% or $100 of the previous amount. Therefore, the new changes to the net resources cap described here has the potential to generate many new child support modification suits for parents who are paying or receiving “max” guideline child support.
Interestingly, there does not appear to be any information on the change in the Office of the Attorney General’s website.