High Wage Earners: Child Support “Cap” – What You Should Know
The Texas Family Code periodically raises the cap amount for child support. The “cap” is currently $9,200.00 per month after having been $7,500 per month for many years.
What does “cap” mean?
This means that a person paying child support (the “obligor”) will presumptively pay his proper percentage of net income (say, e.g., 25% for two children) up to the first $9,200.00 of his net income. This would mean, for example, he would pay 25% of $9,200.00=$2,300 per month as child support.
However, what if the Obligor in this case nets $20,000 per month? Depending on his income, perks, lifestyles of both parties, the income and expenses of the Obligee and any special needs or expenses of the child (or of the sheer wants of the receiving party), the Family Code does allow an Obligee to ask for child support OVER the cap.
If the Court grants that request, the child support would be the minimum of $2,300 per month PLUS whatever other amount the Court might order. For this excess amount, the Code says the court may use its discretion on how to apportion/divide the additional expenses of the child between the parties, but in practice the Obligor simply pays the extra, often applying the same 25% to the $20,000.
Example: a child attends a prestigious private school which costs $5000 per month and the Court agrees the child should continue attending the school. The Court could set the child support at an amount GREATER THAN the presumptive $2,300.
Another example is a special needs child that has legitimate additional medical or educational expenses well above the normal amount. An Obligee can ask for additional child support.
This is where a client definitely should have a competent, very experienced attorney. I have handled many of these type of cases (usually representing the Obligor), and can help you if you are in this situation.
Jon R. Boyd