Divorce proceedings are difficult to go through for any individual involved, but what may be lost among the complexity of a high-net-worth or high-conflict divorce in Houston is often what is best for the children.
We know that every parent wants what is best for their children, no matter what the circumstances are. Regardless if you are filing for sole child custody or shared, filing for divorce in Houston between high-net-worth individuals can be a very complicated matter to figure out alone. With experienced divorce attorneys in Houston, TX, however, it doesn’t have to be.
Identifying the Custodial and Non-Custodial Parent
To begin the process of calculating child support obligations, the family court has to recognize who the custodial parent is–that is, the parent that retains the right to decide where the child will live, shares a home with the child, and predominately spends the most time with them. The other parent–recognized as the non-custodial parent in family law–is the individual who will typically retain the child support obligation.
To simplify a topic that can be rather complicated, the State of Texas uses a “percentage of income” approach when it comes to calculating child support. This is also true for high-net-worth couples that deal with asset division during divorce proceedings in Houston.
How Child Support is Calculated in Harris County Family Court
In essence, the non-custodial parent’s net resources are taken into consideration. Net resources are usually determined by the non-custodial parent’s income, meaning:
- Interest and dividends on investments
- Capital Gains
- Income from rental properties
- Income earned from retirement benefits, pensions, annuity, trusts, and gifts
A certain percentage is calculated from these assets to determine the child support obligation based on the number of children the two high-net-worth individuals have, as follows:
- For one child – 20% of the non-custodial parent’s net resources
- Two children – 25% of the non-custodial parent’s net resources
- Three children – 30% of the non-custodial parent’s net resources
- Four – 35% of the non-custodial parent’s net resources
- Five or more – 40% of the non-custodial parent’s net resources for five; 40% at least for six or more children
Then, the court subtracts any of the following from the income earned:
- State or federal income taxes
- Social security taxes
- Any union dues
- Amounts paid to the child(ren)’s health and dental insurances, plus medical expenses
After all of these assets and expenses are calculated, the amount required for the child support obligation is set. But even then, that may not be the final ruling. A family court may also order additional child support to be paid for any of the child’s proven needs, like:
- School tuition
- Extracurricular activities
- Additional medical costs
For high-net-worth couples that are filing for divorce in the Harris County family court system, a maximum amount for monthly net resources may be adjusted per inflation–which since 2020 was capped at $9,200. This means that if the non-custodial parent makes over $9,200 in their monthly net resources, only a certain percentage based on the number of children (outlined above) would be taken from the cap.
For example, if you have one child and earned over $9,200 in monthly net resources, only 20% would be deducted from the $9,200 (or whatever the adjusted cap is currently). This may mean that you would need to pay $1,840/month in child support, given no other expenses are added in after initial calculations.
The Law Offices of Douglas Ray York, P.C.: Your Trusted Divorce Attorneys in Houston, TX
Figuring out a fair asset division makes a divorce involving couples with a high net worth a complicated matter. Factor in determining who is responsible for the children and who retains the child support obligations can make an already complicated ordeal even more difficult.
If this resonates with what you are going through right now, rest assured that there is hope. Our divorce attorneys in Houston, TX have decades of experience under their belt navigating individuals around family law matters. In addition, our mock courtroom can help you become more familiar with what is to come in your particular divorce proceedings in real-time with a real divorce lawyer.