If you have children and are preparing for a divorce in Texas, you can generally expect that either you or your spouse will come out of your divorce with an obligation to pay child support. Child support is the one aspect of a divorce where separating spouses have the least flexibility; and, as we previously discussed, payment of child support is a requirement in most Texas divorces.

Unfortunately, in our experience, many people have a number of misconceptions about establishing, paying, and terminating payment of child support. Here, our attorneys discuss the truth behind five myths regarding child support in Texas.

The Truth About Texas Child Support

Myth #1: Since Texas Has Child Support Guidelines, Calculating Child Support is Easy.

While Texas’s child support guidelines do make calculating child support a fairly straight-forward process, making sure you arrive at an accurate calculation can still be a challenge. Since the non-custodial parent pays child support in Texas, this means that you first need to determine which parent will have custody. Then, you need to determine the non-custodial parent’s income – which means you need to make sure he or she is not hiding any income in your divorce.

Myth #2: Child Support is Based on Wages or Salary, and Not Other Income.

When establishing child support in Texas, nearly all ongoing, temporary and one-time sources of income factor into the calculation. This includes sources of income such as:

  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Interest and dividends
  • Trust income
  • Alimony from a previous marriage

Learn more about the types of income that factor into calculating child support in Texas.

Myth #3: I Can Deduct My Child Support Payments on My Taxes.

Child support payments are not tax-deductible (you couldn’t deduct your children’s living expenses if you paid them directly), and they do not constitute additional income for the custodial parent.

Myth #4: I Can Stop Paying Child Support if I Lose My Job.

This is a dangerous misconception about child support. While many people assume that they can stop paying child support if they are financially unable to do so, this is not the case. Child support obligations are established by court order, and to avoid violating your child support order you need to seek a modification before you stop payment.

Myth #5: I Can Stop Paying Child Support if My Spouse Gets a Higher-Paying Job.

This is incorrect for the same reason as Myth #4. In addition, since Texas law focuses on the paying parent’s income for purposes of calculating child support, a change in the receiving parent’s income generally will not justify a request for modification.

Questions about Child Support? Contact the McKinney Family Lawyers at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC

If you are preparing for a divorce and have questions about calculating child support, or if you are divorced and have questions about child support modification or enforcement, we encourage you to contact us for a free, confidential consultation. To speak with an attorney at our law offices in McKinney, Texas, call (214) 726-1450 or submit a request online today.