Many parents go online to find out information about child support. We understand their interest. Child support represents a considerable expense, so people naturally hope to find out what they will owe. Sadly, there are many myths about how child support works in Texas, and we explore some of the most significant in this article. Reach out to our Galveston family law attorney if you have questions or need legal representation in a divorce or child custody fight.
Myth #1: Self-Employment Income Isn’t Counted
That’s not true. In fact, Texas considers self-employed income as income for purposes of calculating child support.
We realize that self-employed income often fluctuates. You might have a great 2023 but have less work in 2024. The way to handle this is to seek a modification if your income drops too much. But the judge will use your most recent income to set the initial child support order.
Myth #2: You Don’t Have to Pay Child Support if You Don’t See Your Kids
That’s also wrong. Child support is independent of visitation. If you choose not to see your children, that is your choice. But so long as there is a child support order in effect, you need to pay.
In fact, you still need to pay child support even if your ex unfairly withholds the children from you. In that unfortunate case, what you need to do is tell the judge that your ex is interfering with your visitation. The judge will then act and could possibly fine or jail your ex for being in contempt. But you can’t simply choose not to pay child support.
Myth #3: Your Child Support Order Fluctuates with Your Income
We understand why people think this way. For example, if you support one child, you will pay 20% of your income. However, that doesn’t mean you pay 20% of whatever you make that month. The amount stays the same.
When setting child support, a judge will look at what you are currently making. That could change, obviously. People who work part-time or gig jobs, self-employed people, and those in boom-or-bust industries often see their income rise and fall. But your weekly child support will stay the same unless you seek a modification.
Myth #4: You Can Eliminate Child Support by Not Working
Some people think they can quit working and reduce their income to zero, even if they have college degrees or decades of experience. In reality, a judge will not be impressed if you earn less than they think you should be. Under Texas law, they can set child support based on what they think you could be earning. This is called “imputing” income to you. And if you still refuse to pay? A judge can hold you in contempt.
Myth #5: You Can Stop Paying if You Are Hurt or Laid Off
Wrong! You must continue to pay child support until a judge modifies the child support order. Even if tragedy strikes—a paralyzing workplace accident, getting laid off, and so on—you aren’t off the hook. Any unpaid child support will continue to accrue and eventually collect interest.
Contact Our Galveston Child Support Attorney
Tad Nelson & Associates can help anyone with a child support dispute. Call us today to schedule a consultation.