Texas Child Support – Overtime Pay and Unemployment

texas child support law

Texas Child Support LawOvertime, Unemployment and Underemployment:  TEXAS CHILD SUPPORT LAW

I am often asked the following questions regarding child support:

  1. “Does overtime count when calculating my child support”?
  2. “What if I’m unemployed?
  3. “Can I quit my job or reduce my income to avoid paying higher support”?

Does Overtime Count?

The answer is simple, YES.  Chapter 154 of the Texas Family Code specifically states “overtime pay” is to be included in a person’s net income. In fact, everything is considered income for purposes of child support except the following:

(1) Return of principal or capital;

(2)  Accounts receivable;

(3)  Benefits paid in accordance with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program or another federal public assistance program; or

(4)  Payments for foster care of a child.  (Tex. Fam. Code 154.062)

Texas Child Support law also allows for the following deductions from income prior to calculating child support:

(1)  Social security taxes;

(2)  Federal income tax based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one personal exemption and the standard deduction;

(3)  State income tax;

(4)  Union dues;

(5)  Expenses for the cost of health insurance (dental insurance as of Sept. 1, 2018) or cash medical support for the obligor’s child ordered by the court under Section 154.182; and

(6)  If the obligor does not pay social security taxes, non-discretionary retirement plan contributions.

Once the net income is calculated, the appropriate percentage is applied, depending on the number of children, which will give you the monthly amount of support to be paid.

What happens if you are Unemployed?

Texas law presumes people are at least working 40 hours per week at Federal Minimum Wage.  Evidence of actual income must be presented to the court in order to rebut this presumption.  The presumption does not apply if a party is in jail for more than 90 days.

Can I quit my Job or reduce my Income?

You can always quit your job but it likely will not help you with reducing your monthly child support amount.  Texas law specifically authorizes the court to apply potential income to your monthly child support calculation if it finds a person voluntarily quit their employment or is purposefully making less money than they are able to.  Mathematically it does not make sense to reduce your income to avoid support.  If your child support is 20 percent of your net monthly income, are you willing to sacrifice the other 80 percent to pay less support?  It doesn’t make sense.

The above is a brief overview of Texas child support law regarding child support and income.  Contact your Houston Child Support Lawyer at The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. for a complimentary consultation.

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