Child Support Is Going Up

Texas child support is getting a raise

Every six years, the State of Texas reviews the formulas used to calculate child support payments. This year, they are raising the “cap limit” to adjust for inflation. The new formula goes into effect in just a few weeks on September 1, 2019, and it requires high-income earners to pay more. Anyone earning more than $150,000 a year falls into the “higher earner” category and will be subject to this increased cap. This inflation adjustment is mandated by the Texas Family Code Section 154.125(a-1).

Crunching the numbers

Child support payment are calculated in part by considering how much a parent has in “net resources.” However, the formula includes a “cap” on the maximum amount of net resources that can be considered in the calculation. Until next month, that cap limit is $8,550 per month in net resources. But starting September 1, 2019, that cap on net resources goes up to $9,200 per month. This table gives you some idea of how this increase plays out in terms of actual child support payments.

Number of children*Previous max monthly
payments until 8/31/19
NEW max monthly
payments starting 9/1/19
One child$1,710$1,840
Two children$2,138$2,300
Three children$2,565$2,760

*     This chart only applies to those earning enough to meet the cap limit and doesn’t consider other variables, such as other child support payments being made to children from another relationship and other variables.

The difference a day makes

If someone is in the midst of a divorce right now, this increased cap can make a big difference. Consider this scenario: A parent who meets the cap limit and has one child starting kindergarten this fall gets divorced in September. This parent could pay more than $20,000 extra over the next 13 years until the child turns 18 compared to someone in otherwise identical circumstances who has a final decree date on August 31st. This adjustment happens every six years, but it always seems to sneak up on everyone, so mark your calendar now for September 1, 2025!

Already divorced? This applies to you too!

This increase will automatically apply if the first order or decree entered establishing child support is entered on or after September 1, 2019. But if you have an existing child support agreement already in place, you may be subject to an increase as well, it’s just not an automatic adjustment. If your current child support payments were determined through a court order, then someone will have to initiate a modification proceeding – typically either the payee (recipient) of the payments or the Attorney General.

Voluntary support agreements also qualify

If you and your ex were able to reach a voluntary agreement on child support, then the recipient will need to prove a material and substantial change in circumstances -either of the child or anyone else affected by the previous order. Many events can be deemed a material change of circumstances so definitely consult with an attorney to determine if any of the options apply to your situation.

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