Is There a Cap to Child Support in Texas Divorce?

In the vast majority of cases, the answer to whether there is a “cap” to child support in divorce is, “yes.”  The Texas Family Code caps “net resources” available for what’s called “guideline child support” at $8,550.00.  In determining “net resources,” the Family Code includes the following:

  1. Wages, salary, commissions, overtime pay, tips and bonuses;
  2. Interests, dividends, and royalties;
  3. Self-employment income;
  4. Severance pay, retirement benefits, Social Security benefits (other than Supplemental Security Income or SSI), and VA disability compensation.

In Texas, if one child is at issue (and assuming the paying parent has no other children from prior marriages or relationships for which that parent has a legal duty of support), “guideline child support” is as follows:

  1. One child: 20% of net resources, which equals $1,710.00 per month;
  2. Two children: 25% of net resources, which equals $2,137.50;
  3. Three children: 30% of net resources, which equals $2,565.00; and,
  4. Higher rates apply when more children are at issue. 

Is it possible for a court to deviate from these guidelines?  Yes.  Factors a Court may consider in evaluating whether to deviate (i.e. increasing or decreasing child support) include the following:

  1. Child care expenses of either party to maintain gainful employment;
  2. The amount of spousal maintenance being paid or received by either party;
  3. Whether the paying spouse has benefits paid by his or her employer, such as a company car, company housing or other benefits and allowances; and,
  4. The travel costs for a parent in order to exercise possession (i.e. visitation).

In evaluating whether to go above guideline child support, another concept the Court may consider is “proven needs of the child.”  To read more on my website about proven needs of the child, click here.

Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and the founder and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm, PLLC.  The firm provides a spectrum of family law-related services to clients in the greater San Antonio region, across the United States and throughout the world.  The firm specializes in Federal Civil Service and Military Divorce matters.