Unfortunately there is no cut and dry answer to this question. It depends on three main factors:
1. What is your attorney’s hourly rate? – An attorney with an hourly rate of $175 per hour will clearly result with lower attorney’s fees than an attorney who charges $475 per hour. Keep in mind that an attorney’s hourly rate is often reflective of their experience and skill level so it may be in your best interest to choose an experienced attorney at the cost of having higher attorney’s fees.
Texas child support obligations are calculated using a percentage of your net resources, that percentage being based on how many children one has an obligation to support. Unless there are additional circumstances, as outlined below, a court cannot order a party to pay above Guideline child support amounts as dictated by the Texas Family Code.
There are special circumstances where a court will order a party to pay child support obligations above the guideline amount. Texas Family Code §154.123 states the court shall consider the following factors when deciding if guideline child support is applicable:
- the age and needs of the child;
- the ability of the parents to contribute to the support of the child;
- any financial resources available for the support of the child;
- the amount of time of possession of and access to a child;
- the amount of the obligee’s net resources, including the earning potential of the obligee if the actual income of the obligee is significantly less than what the obligee could earn because the obligee is intentionally unemployed or underemployed and including an increase or decrease in the income of the obligee or income that may be attributed to the property and assets of the obligee;
- child care expenses incurred by either party in order to maintain gainful employment;
- whether either party has the managing conservatorship or actual physical custody of another child;
- the amount of alimony or spousal maintenance actually and currently being paid or received by a party;
- the expenses for a son or daughter for education beyond secondary school;
- whether the obligor or obligee has an automobile, housing, or other benefits furnished by his or her employer, another person, or a business entity;
- the amount of other deductions from the wage or salary income and from other compensation for personal services of the parties;
- provision for health care insurance and payment of uninsured medical expenses;
- special or extraordinary educational, health care, or other expenses of the parties or of the child;
- the cost of travel in order to exercise possession of and access to a child;
- positive or negative cash flow from any real and personal property and assets, including a business and investments;
- debts or debt service assumed by either party; and
- any other reason consistent with the best interest of the child, taking into consideration the circumstances of the parents.
After the court examines the above factors and circumstances, it may determine that it is in the child’s best interest to order child support in an amount above guideline recommendations.