In the past, the upper limit of a parent’s income for child support purposes was limited to a monthly gross of $10,340 GROSS for employed persons and $11,074 GROSS for self-employed persons. Under the older Texas child support guidelines, that worked out to $7,500 NET monthly income. That meant that anyone making above that amount per month would not have it “count” for purposes of figuring your child support percentage. One child allows 20% of your NET monthly income, two children allows 25% of the NET, and so forth. For example, the usual “cap” for someone with one child under the old $7,500 per month is 20% of $7,500, or $1,500 in monthly child support. To go above these artificial “caps” you would need a very good reason why the child support should be set higher, i.e., continuing private school expense, medical needs of the child, etc.
Starting September 1, 2013, for all cases in front of a Judge on that day and going forward regardless of actual filing date of the case, the new “cap” limit is $8,550 NET per month. That works out to about $11,800 GROSS per month for employed individuals and $12,550 GROSS for self-employed individuals. Using the same above example, someone with one child would pay 20% of $8,550 or $1,710 per month in child support under these new “cap” guidelines.
This change is due to a new calculation from the Attorney General of the consumer price index and it’s application to other child care cost data, which was all changed and recommended at the last Texas Legislative Session. You can run a child support calculation using the Travis County Child Support Payment Calculator to check how much child support should be paid based on your income and other deductions such as health insurance and other children in your life. The Texas Attorney General’s Child Support website is also informative, if not as interactive as the Travis County website. I also recommend that a parent paying or receiving child support should speak to a family law attorney in order to know how to make a child support calculation in your case and whether your situation might be at risk of going above this “cap” limit.