Does Child Support Increase if My Salary Increases?
You just got a raise. How does that affect the child support you are paying to the other parent?
Child custody and support are common issues in Texas divorces. If you are a non-custodial parent, you may be concerned about child support and whether the amount will change years after the divorce.
It is possible, but you may be relieved to know that it does not happen automatically. A Pearland family law attorney can help you understand the process.
Child support payments are based on the court order from the divorce. If there is a significant life change, such as a job loss or disability, then a parent can request a modification and hope for a decrease in child support payments.
A custodial parent who learns about the other parent’s raise or higher-paying job can also request a child support modification, but for a higher amount up to what is called the “net resources cap.” However, if they are seeking support in excess of the “cap,” they will have to prove that the children need the extra money to care for them.
Texas Child Support Guidelines
Child support is almost always set at the amount calculated from state guidelines in the Texas Family Code. Note that Texas law takes only the first $9,200 of a parent’s monthly income (this is the net resources cap) when ordering child support.
- 1 child = 20% of monthly net income
- 2 children = 25% of monthly net income
- 3 children = 30% of monthly net income
- 4 children = 35% of monthly net income
- 5 or more children = 40% of monthly net income
What the Courts Say
Child support is in place to pay for essentials such as food, clothing, shelter, education, and medical care. Cell phones, entertainment, rental cars, pest control, and pet care are not proven needs, as one Texas mother tried to prove in a 2013 court case.
The mother of three tried to get the father to pay more than $1,000 a month in child support because he had increased his income from $100,000 a year to more than $100,000 a month. This was despite the fact that the mother made more than $250,000 per year and her new husband made more than $1 million annually. She tried to get the other parent to pay for her new expenses related to the new lifestyle she enjoyed in her new marriage. The court denied the request for child support modification.
What this means is that an increase in income—even a significant one—is not necessarily enough to justify a child support increase. A request for an increase in child support should be documented by clear evidence of the children’s proven needs. Expenses are not the same thing as proven needs.
Contact a Pearland Family Law Attorney
As a payer of child support, you may be concerned about increases in income. While making more money could result in having to pay more child support, if a higher than guideline amount is sought there needs to be evidence that more money is needed by the custodial parent, such as increased medical costs or education expenses.