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Child Support in a High Asset Divorce

 Posted on February 28, 2020 in Child Support

TX high asset divorce lawyerChild support in a high asset divorce can work a bit differently than child support for a low-income family or a middle-class family. While Texas’s child support law still applies, the calculation for and amount of child support will likely be quite different. If you are anticipating a high net worth divorce in Austin, Texas, it is important to discuss all aspects of the divorce process with an aggressive Texas high asset divorce lawyer. In the meantime, we want to say more about child support in Texas and how high net worth parents should be thinking about child support in relation to their divorce.

General Information About Texas Child Support Laws

Before we explain how a high asset couple should be thinking about child support in their divorce, it is essential to understand how child support works under Texas law. First, Texas is one of only a handful of states that still uses a “percentage of income” model. While a number of states have shifted to an “income shares” model in which both parents’ incomes are used to calculate a total child support obligation, Texas only uses the income of the obligor parent’s income (the parent ordered to pay child support) to calculate the child support obligation.

In Texas, courts take a flat percentage of the obligor parent’s income as the child support amount. That flat percentage is based on the total number of children for which the obligor parent is providing support. The guidelines look like this:

  • 20 percent for 1 child
  • 25 percent for 2 children
  • 30 percent for 3 children
  • 35 percent for 4 children
  • 40 percent for 5 children and more

How Austin, TX Child Support May Be Different for High Net Worth Parents

In a high asset divorce where the obligor parent has a substantial income, the total amount of that parent’s income is capped for purposes of determining the child support obligation. Over the last decade, the caps have increased to account for increases in the cost of living. As of September 1, 2019, the total monthly income used to calculate the child support obligation is capped at $9,200. Accordingly, if the obligor parent earns more than $9,200 per month, the child support obligation will be calculated based on an income of $9,200 per month. The totals come out to:

  • $1,840 for 1 child
  • $2,300 for 2 children
  • $2,760 for 3 children
  • $3,220 for 4 children
  • $3,680 for 5 children and more

While there is a cap on the amount of the obligor parent’s income, it is also important for high net worth couples to know that a court can deviate from those guidelines, especially in situations where the obligor parent’s earnings are significantly higher than the capped amount. In order for a judge to deviate and award more than the monthly amount based on the cap (outlined above), the court will consider what is in the child’s best interests. The statute specifically says that the court can order child support payments in an amount other than that established by the guidelines if the evidence rebuts the presumption that the application of the guidelines is in the best interest of the child and justifies a variance from the guidelines.

In such cases, the court can look at a wide variety of factors, including “any financial resources available for the support of the child,” the ability for one or both parents “to contribute to the support of the child,” and many other factors.

Contact a High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer in Texas

If you have questions about child support in a high net worth divorce, an aggressive Austin high asset divorce attorney can assist you. An experienced complex child custody attorney or complex litigation attorney at our firm can also help with other issues in your Texas divorce. Contact Powers and Kerr, PLLC online or call us at 512-610-6199.




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