As a family law attorney in Dallas, I have seen many cases where a parent intentionally becomes underemployed or unemployed to avoid paying higher child support. This is a serious issue because child support is essential to the well-being of the child, and both parents have a legal obligation to provide support. In this blog post, I will explain the law related to intentional underemployment for purposes of child support.
What is Intentional Underemployment?
Intentional underemployment is when a parent voluntarily reduces their income or chooses to work in a lower-paying job despite having the ability to earn more money. This is often done to lower the amount of child support they are required to pay. When a court finds that a parent is intentionally underemployed, they may impute income to that parent, which means they will calculate child support based on what the parent is capable of earning rather than their actual income.
Proving Intentional Underemployment
The burden of proving intentional underemployment falls on the parent seeking higher child support. To prove intentional underemployment, the parent must show that the other parent has the ability and opportunity to work and earn more money but has chosen not to do so. This can be done by showing that the parent has a history of earning more money, has the education or training to earn more money, or has turned down job offers or promotions that would increase their income.
When a court finds that a parent is intentionally underemployed, they may impute income to that parent. Imputing income means that the court will calculate child support based on what the parent is capable of earning rather than their actual income. The court will consider the parent’s education, training, work history, and job opportunities to determine what they are capable of earning.
Challenging Imputed Income
If a parent disagrees with the court’s decision to impute income, they can challenge it by showing that they have made reasonable efforts to find employment or increase their income. This can be done by showing evidence of job applications, training, education, or promotions. The court will consider the evidence and make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child.
If you are involved in a child support case where the other parent is intentionally underemployed, it is important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side. At the Blacknall Firm, we have years of experience handling child support cases and can help you navigate the legal process.