During divorce proceedings, multiple issues often arise in negotiations — especially around the issue of children. While you may have the opportunity to present evidence and somewhat direct the outcomes of custody or other matters, child support in Texas is determined by formula.

By working with our McKinney child support lawyers at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC, we can help you understand how child support will be determined in your specific case.

For the most part, child support is simply based on income. Texas uses a formula that considers how much money the parent paying child support earns and how many children that parent has. Other factors come into play, though, depending on various custody and financial matters.

Child Support and Custody

Generally, one parent has the majority of possessory conservatorship or physical custody. When this is the case, the other parent is usually responsible for paying child support. While it’s often in the best interest of the child for the parents to share physical custody, child support is traditionally paid from one parent to the other.

The parent who has the majority of physical custody may still be expected to pay for things the child needs, though. The individual situation will determine these responsibilities.

Determining Income

In Texas, the child support guidelines figure nearly all income in the formula to determine final support amounts. Included are hourly wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, tips and overtime pay. In many cases, pass-through income from businesses and stock dividends that are paid to the parent may also count, although stock dividends that are re-invested may not count.

This amount is tallied up and then any amounts paid as child support for other children is subtracted. If a parent receives public assistance, those monies are not calculated.

Unemployed Parents

Since parents who receive public assistance do not have that income tallied into the child support equation, the courts are wary of unemployment or even underemployment.

While it is certainly recognized that regional or macroeconomic factors influencing employment may be beyond a parent’s control, willful failure to earn money can complicate things. It may influence how the court judges the best interest of your child, which in turn may influence how much time you spend with your children.

On the other hand, legitimate unemployment may be a cause for a child support modification.

If you are dealing with an underemployment issue, be sure to work closely with your attorney to make sure your child support is the right amount for your situation.

Hiding Income

Some people think they can hide income such that it won’t be used in determining child support. They may take work under the table. They may “forget” to report certain income or hide accounts in other names. However, this is a bad idea that will likely result in the court’s ire.

If you suspect your child’s other parent of hiding income to lower child support amounts, contact our office right away to discuss the situation further.