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New Child Support Cap Effective September 1, 2019

Aimee Pingenot Key | August 27, 2019

oung Asian mother sitting on the floor in the bedroom reading book to little daughter, enjoying family bonding time together at home

Texas Family Code §154.125(a)(1) requires that every six years the presumptive amount of net resources for which child support guidelines apply be reviewed and adjusted for inflation by the Texas Office of the Texas Attorney General (OAG). That section sets out the formula for doing so based on the consumer price index.

The last child support adjustment was done in 2013 when the current amount of $8,550 per month was established. Effective September 1, 2019, the new net resources “cap” has been set at $9,200 per month. Net resources are calculated by deducting social security and federal income taxes, state income tax, union dues, expenses for the cost of health and dental insurance (or cash medical support for health and dental insurance), and (if the payor does not pay social security taxes), nondiscretionary retirement plan contributions. This new cap is approximately $12,000 gross income per month, or $144,000 per year.

Child Support In Ongoing Litigation

f you are in the middle of litigation that will go to trial or be resolved after September 1, 2019, this new child support ‘cap’ will apply when calculating child support.

Child support under the guidelines is determined by applying the applicable percentage, beginning at 20% for one child and increasing 5% incrementally for each additional child, to the net resources amount up to the ‘cap.’ Thus, even if a party is earning $200,000 a year, presumptively he or she pays the same monthly child support obligation as someone earning $144,000 per year. If a child support obligor has monthly net resources over $9,200, a party seeking above-guideline child support has the burden of proving to the court that additional support should be ordered according to factors set out in Texas Family Code §154.126.

Modifying a Child Support Order

If you already have an existing child support order, the new guidelines enable the parent receiving child support to file a modification to seek an increase in child support. If the party paying child support earns above the new ‘cap’ then the court will likely recalculate the monthly child support obligation.

Calculating child support is specific to each case based on a number of factors that must be considered. Seeking the expertise of a family law attorney is advised prior to trying to negotiate or modify an existing child support order.

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