Adjusting Child Support Payments Because of Inflation
Child support is an essential part of the divorce process. Parents want to ensure they can provide for their kids. Having the financial means to pay for essentials, such as housing, food, education, and healthcare, is vital. It’s comforting to know you and your ex can support your children adequately and secure their future.
Whether you pay or receive child support, you could face some challenges. Arranging the amount of the payments isn’t a straightforward process. Additionally, Texas Family code 154.125(a-1) requires adjusting the maximum amount to be considered for child support (in general) every six years. In 2019, the state changed the calculations for child support payments to account for inflation. Depending on the obligor’s monthly net resources, it can significantly impact a person’s case.
Child Support in Texas
The person paying child support is the obligor, while the person receiving it is the obligee. Typically, the person entitled to child support payments is the custodial parent. That means they live with the kids primarily. They also incur most daily living expenses, such as housing and food. The obligor provides predetermined payments to the obligee to help cover these costs.
The court will consider the guidelines under Texas Family Code Chapter 154 Subchapter C when determining the amount of child support the obligor must pay. The judge can also consider a range of factors, including each parent’s income, the number of children they share, and the amount of the expenses necessary to care for the children.
The court must determine the obligor’s monthly net resources to calculate child support payments. Monthly net resources include:
- 100 percent of salary and wage income and any overtime, commission, bonuses, and tips
- Dividends, interest, and royalty income
- Income from self-employment
- Net rental income
Then the court deducts the items below from the monthly net resources:
- State income tax
- Federal income tax
- Any withheld union dues
- Social Security taxes
- Health insurance costs
- Medicare taxes
A percentage and the number of children determine the amount of child support payments.
Adjusting Child Support Due to Inflation
Before Texas raised its cap on child support in 2019, payments were based on a maximum monthly net resource of $8,550. Anyone exceeding this limit had to pay 20 percent of $8,550 for one child and another five percent for each additional child up to five children. For example, if you had two kids, you would have to pay 25 percent of $8,550.
In 2019, the cap raised to $9200. If the obligor’s monthly net resources exceed $9,200, they must pay a percentage of their resources based on how many children they have. However, if the obligor has less than the cap, they won’t face an automatic increase to reflect inflation.
The payments based on the adjusted cap that started in 2019 are below:
- $1,840 for one child
- $2,300 for two children
- $2,760 for three children
- $3,220 for four children
- $3,680 for five children
If there are six or more children, the percentage cannot be less than 40 percent of monthly net resources.
How to Modify a Child Support Agreement
If you want to modify an existing child support order, you must file a petition with the court. Typically, you can only modify a child support agreement three years after the date of the previous order. However, you can also petition the court if a substantial and material change in circumstance occurs.
A substantial and material change in circumstances can include:
- Loses their job
- Receives a financial windfall, such as inheritance
- Becomes financially responsible for supporting another child
- Receives a significant pay cut or raise
- Has a change in health insurance
- Moves to a new residence
- Has special psychological, medical, or educational needs
You should consult an experienced attorney regarding your modification request. If you don’t follow the correct procedure, you could lose your case.
How We Could Help
Hargrave Law, PC, has fought for our clients’ rights for over two decades. We will be by your side during the entire process to provide the guidance and support you need. Our goal is to reach the results you want regarding your child support arrangement or modification. You can count on us to tirelessly work to meet your needs and try to achieve your desired outcome.
If you want to discuss your options regarding child support in Grapevine or Bedford, call us at (817) 282-0679 for a confidential consultation.