First read: Issues Common in a Divorce – Part 1

At the Barbosa Law Firm, P. C.,  a common questions our clients or just people calling us for information deals with child support.   Why should I pay child support?   Why should I pay so much child support?  Questions almost always revolve around people not wanting to pay child support because the other parent makes so much money.

One question which is always problematic when answered is “why do I have to pay child support if the other parent makes so much money or makes 20 times as much as I do”?

The issue with the Court is not how much the custodial parent makes as income,  the issue is what is the noncustodial parent’s financial obligation to support their children.   The child support amount to be paid by the parent, not in the primary custody of a child is based on his or her income sources.

The Court will calculate the parent’s net resources for the purpose of determining child support liability as provided by Section  154.062 of the Texas Family Code.   A person’s resources include 100 percent of the person’s wages and salary income and other compensation for personal services including commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses.   A common complaint is for a person to complain that overtime is not guaranteed or assured by their employers.

Although that may be a true fact,  usually the obligation is determined by an average of pay periods and usually involves 6 months or even 12-month averages.   Self-employment income is also considered in adding up net resources as well as interest, dividends, and royalty income.   Even net rental income can be considered for the purposes of calculating net resources for the purpose of payment of support for children.  Net rental income is defined as rent after deductions for operating expenses and mortgage payments, but not including noncash items such as depreciation.

Income is also considered by the Courts in determining child support such as severance pay, retirement benefits, pensions, other than supplemental security income.

In one case in Texas, the person receiving child support complained that the payor of child support should not be entitled to a deduction of $500 he paid for monthly health insurance for the children.  Her complaint was that his actual resources were higher than the $8,550.00 and that he should therefore not benefit from his $500 deduction for payment of health insurance for the children. Section 154.062 of the Texas Family Code requires that the Court deduct the children’s health insurance premiums from his net resources.  Besides, Texas Courts have strictly applied Section 154.062(d).   The Courts usually find that the wife’s argument that health insurance premiums should not be deducted from the man’s net resources unpersuasive.   Therefore, Courts will take the obligor’s presumptive net monthly resources and deduct the monthly health insurance premiums from that number to arrive at a new month net resource amount.

In any hearing, the Court will require a party to furnish sufficient information to accurately identify that party’s net resources and ability to pay child support, and produce copies of tax returns for the past 2 years, a financial statement and current pay stubs.

In our next blog,  we will explore cases in which the parties enter into an agreement not to pay child support to either parent.   It can be done; however, a parent must be prepared to explain and justify a no child support case before a Court.