Texas Child Support Guidelines Change – Effective 09/01/2013

On September 1, 2013 Texas law changed in respect to child support guidelines. In Texas, the legislature promulgates a series of guidelines to help determine the appropriate amount of child support that should be paid by the child support obligor. While the guidelines are not absolute and it is possible to receive above guideline child support, the guidelines do form the basis of most child support determinations in Texas.

Under the child support guidelines, the obligor must pay a certain percent of his/her ‘net’ monthly income in child support. It is important to remember that net income as defined for child support is different than actual ‘take home pay’ for most people. Previously, the amount of ‘net income’ considered under the guidelines was capped at $7,500 per month. Even if a parent made $50,000 per month, under the guidelines, only the first $7,500 would be considered as ‘net income.’ For example, for if there was one child, the parent paying child support would be required to pay 20% of no more than $7,500 under the guidelines, or about $1,500 per month in child support.  This is often referred to as ‘max’ guideline child support.

As of September 1, 2013, the cap increased to $8,550 per month and the first $8,550 of net monthly income will now be considered for child support. In the example above, child support for one child would increase from $1,500 per month to $1,710 under the new guidelines. In order to determine whether you are eligible to pay or receive ‘max’ child support, it is important to refer to the tax charts calculated by the Office of the Attorney General. Under the tax charts, a person makes $8,550 ‘net monthly income’ if they make $11,828.81 in gross income per month, or about $141,945.72 gross per year.  The previous cap reflected a gross annual income of about $124,086. A change in child support amount does not happen automatically, if you are currently receiving ‘max’ guideline child support or believe you may be eligible, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC to discuss modifying your support order to reflect the new law.

If you need more information regarding child support, please visit our main site:

Texas has specific guidelines related to the amount of child support that should be paid each month. The guidelines consider the income of the obligor, or the person paying child support, and the amount of children to be supported. While the amount child support is ordered is based off of these guidelines in most cases, child support can be increased or decreased from the guideline amount depending on a series of factors listed in Texas Family Code §154.123. The Court must consider all relevant factors when deviating from guideline child support. These factors include:

  1. The age and the needs of the child;
  2. The child’s educational expenses beyond high school;
  3. Health insurances provisions and payment of uninsured medical costs;
  4. Extraordinary educational, health-care, or other expenses of the child or of the adult parties to the suit;
  5. The resources available for the support of the child;
  6. Whether either party has possession of or acts as managing conservator for another child;
  7. The possession and access each party has to the child;
  8. Travel costs for one party to visit or have possession of the child;
  9. Child care expenses that allow either party to maintain employment;
  10. The respective abilities of each party to contribute to the child’s support;
  11. The net resources of the person receiving child support;
  12. Spousal support paid or received;
  13. Any benefits provided by an employer such as a car, housing, or other benefits;
  14. Paycheck deductions including
    1. Federal income taxes;
    2. Social security taxes;
    3. Non-discretionary retirement plan contributions;
    4. Union dues;
    5. Child’s health insurance or cash medical support.
    6. Cash flow from real and personal property;
    7. Debts assumed by either party;
    8. Any other reason consistent with the child’s best interest, taking into consideration the parents’ circumstances.

Ultimately, the court will consider all of these factors, but will make a final decision based on the needs of the child. A child’s needs, for support purposes, are more than life’s bare necessities, and are based on the best interest of the child. The best interest of the child will be a critical factor for any judge ordering a deviation from guideline support.

For more information, please visit our main child support information page or review other child support blog articles.

Scroll to top