Child Support And The Unemployed Or Underemployed
Our Texas Family Code takes a very direct approach in calculating child support. This is, child support is based on a percentage of the non-primary parent’s “net resources” which is shorthand for all of a parent’s income less social security, federal income tax, union dues, and cost of health insurance.
Income is more than a paycheck
Family law clients can get caught off-guard if they wrongly assume net resources only includes money earned from their primary job. “Resources” includes income from all sources. For instance, interest, dividends, and royalty income, self employment income, rental income, severance pay, retirement benefits, trust income, social security benefits other than supplemental security income, employment benefits are all includable in figuring net resources.
Lose the Job but Keep the Support?
During difficult economic times, Dallas and Ft. Worth divorce lawyers as well as Dallas County and Tarrant County family law courts have had to grapple with complications posed by parents who become unemployed or are alleged to be “underemployed.” At Schreier & Housewirth Family Law, our Fort Worth and Dallas divorce lawyers recommend clients who are obligated to pay child support seek modification of their child support orders quickly to avoid facing both a mounting child support arrearage and contempt charges.
Remember, until your child support is modified in court, your obligation to pay child support in the amount ordered continues… whether you are employed or not.
Texas Family Law Courts can Make You Pay
Adding complication to this situation is the distinction Dallas and Tarrant County Family Courts must make between parents who are unemployed due to poor economic conditions and those who are “sandbagging” as a strategy to avoid supporting their children.
Texas Family Code Section 154.066 states that a court may determine child support based on earning potential if the obligor is intentionally unemployed or underemployed. In other words, if you are capable of earning a six figure income but chose instead to work at the local bowling alley, a Texas divorce judge may order you to pay child support on what you could be earning.
Let Our Dallas/Fort Worth Divorce and Custody Lawyers Help You
Whether you are paying child support or entitled to receive it, you need to consult with experienced Ft. Worth/Dallas child support attorneys. At Schreier and Housewirth Family Law we have helped thousands of clients through difficult times. We know Texas child support laws and protect what’s most important to you.