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High Income Child Support Case Attorney San Antonio

First, a Word of Caution

If you’ve come to this section without reading the section on “Child Support—Typical cases,” then we suggest you go back and read that information first.  How child support is determined in high income cases builds upon the guidelines used in typical cases.  To go back now, click here.  Otherwise, we’ll simply presume you’ve grasped how the guidelines work and move forward.  We acknowledge that how all this works is a bit more difficult to grasp, so don’t worry if you get confused along the way.  At the Cramp Law Firm, we understand how it all fits together.  We'll be glad to walk you through it. 

Two Components: How They Work Together to Determine Child Support

Proven needs of the child, ultimately, is the legal standard for high income cases.

Two components are added together to determine child support in high income cases.  Different standards apply to each component.

Component #1: Guideline Amount

The first component is the guideline amount for the first $8,550 of the non-custodial parent’s (NCP’s) monthly net resources.  As you’ll recall, the standard is very straightforward and generally not subject to debate.  We merely look up the applicable percentage in the tables published in the Family Code.  We then multiply $8,550 by that percentage.  This part is simple math.

Component #2: Proven Needs of the Child

The second component is derived from the total proven needs of the child Proven needs of the child, ultimately, is the legal standard for high income cases.  Assessing the proven needs of the child is not straightforward.  It involves more than simple math.  Determining total proven needs involves a flexible exercise of judgment—one that is highly susceptible to debate.  To paraphrase one Texas court, the proven needs of a child are not limited to the bare necessities of life—but the concept stops short of embracing the most extravagant of demands.  That leaves a wide spectrum for debate.  Proven needs are determined case-by-case based on the evidence presented.

How the Components Interact

A portion of child support in high income cases can be allocated between the parents.  This portion is determined by subtracting the guideline amount from the total proven needs.  We'll call this the "delta amount."  The court allocates responsibility for the delta amount between the two parents based on their respective incomes and other factors.  This is the only time that the custodial parent’s (CP’s) income becomes a factor.

We suspect that the explanation above is a bit abstract and hard to follow.  Don’t worry.  After quickly listing some examples of things courts have included and excluded from proven needs, we’ll present two easy-to-understand examples.                 

Examples of Proven Needs

At one time or another, a Texas court included the items below in the proven needs of a child:

  • Private school;
  • Extracurricular activities and lessons;
  • Summer camp;
  • Counseling;
  • A maid; and
  • Various other items depending on the facts of the case.

At one time or another, a Texas court excluded the items below from the proven needs of a child:

  • A pet horse;
  • A pro-rata share of a home equity loan attributed to the child;
  • A pro-rata share of a home mortgage attributed to the child;
  • Tutoring expenses;
  • The costs of maintaining a vehicle “for the child’s use when they reach 16” when the child was more than two years short of their 16th birthday at time of the request; and,
  • Various other items depending on the facts of the case.

The examples listed above—while “real”—are not binding.  Different courts can come to different conclusions.  What you should take away from this brief review are two key points: (1) courts are vested with wide discretion; and (2) it is therefore impossible to predict exactly what a court will decide is—and is not—worthy of inclusion.

Sample Calculations

Where the Tables Came From
The two tables below were introduced and explained in the “Child Support-Typical Cases” section of our website.  Review that section if you need a refresher on how the tables operate.  You can do so by clicking here.  Otherwise, we’ll simply assume you recall this information.  The tables are reprinted here for reference as you work through the easy-to-understand examples. 

Child Support Guidelines

Based on monthly net resources of the obligor [or NCP]

 1 child

 20% of the Obligor’s Net Resources

 2 children

 25% of the Obligor’s Net Resources

 3 children

 30% of the Obligor’s Net Resources

 4 children

 35% of the Obligor’s Net Resources

 5 children

 40% of the Obligor’s Net Resources

 6+ children

 Not less than the amount for 5 children

 

Multiple Family Adjusted Guidelines

(% of Net Resources)

 

Number of Children Before the Court

1

2

3

Note:  More columns exist.  The chart is only reproduced partially in our website to save space.

Number of other children whom the obligor [or NCP] has a duty of support.

0

20.00

25.00

30.00

1

17.50

22.50

27.38

2

16.00

20.63

25.20

3

14.75

19.00

24.00

Note:  More rows exist.  The chart is only reproduced partially in our website to save space.

Scenario One

The NCP’s net resources were determined to be $10,000 per month.  There were two children of the marriage.  The NCP has no other children to support.  After hearing the evidence, the court determined the proven needs of the children to be $2,600 per month.  The CP’s income was determined to be $5,000 per month.  After considering all the factors, the court assigned responsibility for the delta amount as follows: (a) two-third to the NCP; and (b) one-third to the CP.  Thus, the court ordered the NCP to pay $2,445.85 per month in child support.  The calculations are in the box below..

Scenario One Calculation

First component/guideline amount: $8,550 x 25% = $2,137.50.

Second component/difference between total proven needs and  guideline amount:  $2,600 - $2,137.50= $462.50 (the "delta amount").

Allocation of responsibility for the delta amount: $462.50 x 2/3 =  $308.35 (the NCP’s share).

NCP’s court-ordered child support: $2,137.50 + $308.35 = $2,445.85 per month.

Scenario Two

Same facts as Scenario One—except that the NCP had one child from a prior marriage to support.  The calculation is in the box below.   

Scenario Two Calculation

First component/guideline amount: $8,550 x 22.50% = $1,923.75.

Second component/difference between total proven needs and guideline amount:  $2,600 - $1,923.75 = $676.25

Allocation of responsibility for the delta amount: $676.25 x 2/3 = $450.86 (which is the NCP’s share).

NCP’s court-ordered child support: $1,923.75 + $450.86 = $2,374.61 per month.

 



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Alamo Towers West, 901 NE Loop 410, Suite 800, San Antonio, TX 78209
| Phone: 210-762-4502

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