For the first $9200 per month in after tax income (roughly $150k per year), Texas judges stick to the guidelines in almost every circumstance. Above this income level, there are no guidelines. You will hear attorneys say that someone has “maxed out”. There is a tendency to ignore anything above the guideline and just calculate child support based on the first $9200 per month. That would mean roughly $1840 for the first child and an additional $460.00 for each additional child. But that isn’t what the code says to do.
The Texas Family Code says that once you hit the top of the guidelines, additional need has to be proven, and that the additional needs will be split between the parents in an equitable fashion. This means that if you have a parent earning $400,000 per year, and you have one child, the default is going to be that the parent pays $1840 per month in child support.
However, lets say that the parent the child lives with can demonstrate to the court’s satisfaction that the child need $3000 per month, the judge would automatically assign the first $1840 to the payor, but the remaining $1160 would be divided between the two parents by the judge in the manner that the judge feels is the most fair. Most likely, the division would be based upon looking at the income levels of both parents. The bigger hurdle isn’t how to divide the extra costs though, it is in convincing the court that the child needs require more than $1840 per month.
Any court I have been in would consider the cost of medical care, day care, food, a portion of the mortgage, and vehicle ownership, but only some courts are willing to consider the cost of private school, or ice skating lessons. It is possible to get more money than the $1840 for the first child, but it takes some legwork, and a cooperative judge. The $1840, by the way is assuming the payor is not responsible for any children who are not also the child of the payee. If, for instance the payor has a child from a new marriage, the child support amount is decreased.
Do you have a family law question that you would like to ask a Texas attorney? Post it in the comments section below, and it may be featured in a future video.