Family and Criminal Law Blog

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Imputing Income in Texas Child Support

Parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support to their children. This is true regardless of whether the parents are married to each other or not. In the event that parents are not married, it is usually the noncustodial parent who will make monthly child support payments to the custodial parent in order to uphold their obligation to provide financial support to their child. In order to calculate how much child support one parent will pay to the other, Texas courts use a child support formula which focuses a lot on the income levels of the parents. In most cases, parents are honest and hardworking. The income they submit to the courts so that child support can be fairly calculate is an accurate reflection of their income level and earning potential. In some cases, however, a parent will refuse to submit proof of their income. In other cases, a parent will intentionally be unemployed or underemployed, earning less than they potentially could in an attempt to reduce their child support payment obligation. In these cases, a court may impute income to that parent.

Imputing Income in Texas Child Support

When a court imputes income, they are essentially using the potential income of a parent instead of their reported income when calculating child support. If the court finds that it would be inappropriate to use a parent’s reported income because they are clearly and voluntarily unemployed or underemployed in an attempt to escape child support liability in whole or in part, then the court will proceed with imputing income. In fact, even if a parent intentionally quits a job, for any reason, the court may still proceed with imputing income.

In determining whether a parent is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed, the court may consider the parent’s:

  • Ability to work
  • Previous job
  • Previous earning level
  • Job skills and education

If the parent gives a valid reason for being unemployed or underemployed, then the court is not likely to impute income. Instead, the parent’s actual income will be used when calculating child support. However, when a court does decide to impute income, the court will then need to determine how much income to impute. The imputed income amount will be based on what the court determines to be the amount the parent would be capable of earning. To calculate this amount, the court will consider factors such as:

  • The parent’s income earning history
  • The parent’s employment history
  • The parent’s job training, skills, and level of education
  • The assets owned by the parent (including, but not limited to assets that produce income)

Family Law Attorneys

Are you concerned that your co-parent is not paying the child support amount that they should? Talk to the team at Navarrete & Schwartz about your options for getting a child support award that accurately reflects the child’s needs and your co-parents ability to pay. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.


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