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Child support


A court may order a parent to pay more child support than the parent's income would ordinarily require (under the child support guidelines in the statute) if the parent could earn more money, but has purposely chosen not to. If the actual income of the parent is significantly less than what the parent could earn because of intentional unemployment or underemployment, the court may apply the child support guidelines to the earning potential of the parent.

In Texas, the Family Code allows courts to consider 'intentional unemployment or underemployment' when determining child support obligations. If a court finds that a parent is intentionally earning less than they could in order to reduce their child support payments, the court has the discretion to calculate child support based on the parent's earning potential rather than their actual income. This means that if a parent is capable of earning more but chooses not to, the court can order them to pay child support as if they were earning their potential higher income. The purpose of this is to ensure that child support is fair and reflects the parent's ability to contribute to the financial needs of their child, rather than allowing a parent to avoid their financial responsibilities through reduced earnings.

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