Some of the most frequent questions I get is regarding child support, such as:
- How much?
- Will I have to pay child support over time?
- Can I quit my Job or reduce my income to avoid paying higher support?
The starting point for answering these questions involves looking at Texas Family Code.
- Whenever feasible, gross income should first be computed on an annual basis and then recalculated to determine average monthly gross income.
154.062. Net Resources
(a) The Court shall calculate net resources to determine child support liability as this section provides.
(b) Resources include:
- 100 percent of all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services (including commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses);
- interest, dividends, and royalty income;
- self-employment income;
- net rental income (defined as rent after deducting operating expenses and mortgage payments, but not including noncash items such as depreciation); and
- all other income being received, including severance pay, retirement benefits, pensions, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits other than
What does this mean?
Whenever possible, you start with the Gross income from the year. Then figure out the net income by deducting things such as:
- Federal income taxes (calculated for a single person with one exemption and the standard deduction)
- State income tax (if paid)
- Union dues
- Social Security taxes
- Medicare taxes
- Health insurance costs paid for the children only
Once this net number is known, child support is calculated. This means that overtime pay and bonus pay are considered in the Court's calculation of Child Support.
What if I lose my Job or I no longer make overtime pay?
Should you lose your job or no longer receive a bonus, you can ask to modify the amount of child support you pay.
The Court does not want to address "what if" situations, only "what is."
My buddy in another state does not have to pay child support on overtime; why do I?
Other states calculate child support differently.
Some states evaluate how much time either parent spends with the child when calculating child support. Texas uses a formula to plug in the numbers and calculate child support.
Arizona takes the attitude that each parent should choose to work additional hours through overtime or at a second Job without increasing the child support award.
Texas has the attitude "what is in the best interest of the child." This means that even though something may be better for a parent, the overall concern is for the child.
What happens if I am unemployed?
Just because a parent does not have a job does not mean they do not have to pay child support. Under Section 154.068, Texas law presumes:
(a) In the absence of evidence of a party's resources, as defined by Section 154.062(b), the Court shall presume that the party has income equal to the federal minimum wage for a 40-hour week to which the support guidelines may be applied.
Can I quit my job or reduce my income to avoid paying higher support?
As a parent, you can always quit your job, but that will not necessarily help you reduce your monthly child support amount. Not only is it a bad idea because you will no longer have a source of income, but Texas law also provides a legal mechanism to fight against this "dirty trick."
Recently a Husband tried to do this in a divorce case where we represented the wife. Every time we found out where he was working, he would quit his job and give us a sad story about being unemployed. This happened 4 or 5 times.
We asked the judge to set child support based on his earning ability and not his actual income. That is exactly what the judge did.
Under Texas Family Code Section 154.068:
a) If the actual income of the obligor is significantly less than what the obligor could earn because of intentional unemployment or underemployment, the Court may apply the support guidelines to the earning potential of the obligor.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- The Dirty Trick of Quitting Your Job to Avoid Child Support During a Texas Divorce
- Can I get child support while my Texas divorce is pending?
- Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Have Joint Custody of My Child in Texas?
- Can I Sue My Ex for Retroactive or Back Child Support in Texas?
- Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
- Texas Child Support Appeals
- In Texas, are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- Why Ignoring Child Support Obligations is a Bad Idea in Texas
- Can I get child support and custody of my kids in Texas if we were never married?
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- 6 Mistakes that can Destroy Your Texas Divorce Case
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.