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A Guide to Imputed Income in Child Support Order

Finding a good divorce lawyer in San Antonio, TX, isn’t always as easy as you might like. Many attorneys tend to be general practitioners, so they could have limited experience when it comes to dealing with divorces and family law. Additionally, divorces and child support issues can quickly become complex. In order to understand how to navigate child support and imputed income, it’s important to be familiar with the basics first. If nothing else, it’ll aid you in asking your lawyer questions and navigating the legal terminology that can sometimes be confusing.

Custody And Income

Child support and custody are interconnected. For instance, the custodial parent (the parent that the child lives with the majority of the time) is generally the parent that receives child support. The non-custodial parent is the person that pays the child support. The child support is adjusted by income, and states sometimes use slightly different ways to calculate the amount. It’s simply assumed that the custodial parent will already be spending from their own income to help care for the child.

In some rare cases, the timeshares may be more-or-less equal. In those instances, child support is calculated based on each parent’s income, and child support is paid to the parent with the lower income. If custody conditions change, child support may need to be recalculated. The same can be true if the income of one parent is drastically altered, due to being laid off or receiving a substantial promotion. As you can see, it’s important to stay up-to-date on custody and earnings. It’s typical for child support to be paid until the child reaches 18 years old and graduates high school.

Imputed Income

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that sometimes parents attempt to misreport or misrepresent their income in order to avoid paying child support. Sometimes, a parent will take a different job that pays less or begin working reduced hours in order to pay less child support. In such cases, the judge will make a determination based on ability and opportunity. If the parent has both the ability and opportunity to continue making their previous amount, the judge may choose to impute their income. In such a case, the previous (higher) income will be used to calculate the parent’s child support obligation, not the newer (lower) salary.

Voluntary Versus Involuntary

Not all reductions in income are by choice. Sometimes, people get laid off. That could be to a number of different reasons. A company could be downsizing for instance, and many employees may get laid off as a result. If a parent becomes underemployed or unemployed for a legitimate reason, that’s taken into consideration. The parent will need to demonstrate that he or she is actively looking for work, and the inability to find more substantial employment is due to a lack of opportunity, not a lack of effort. The best divorce lawyer in San Antonio, Texas, will be able to help you sort through these details. Imputed income is typically reserved for when the reduction in income is voluntary or intentional.

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