In some Texas child support cases, the court may find a party to be “intentionally underemployed.” Although child support is generally based on the party’s income and resources, the calculation may be based on earning capacity if the party is found to be intentionally underemployed or unemployed.
A father recently challenged a child support obligation in which he was found to be intentionally underemployed. The father had petitioned for the bill of review on the grounds the child support determination had been based on an IRS tax-lien notice that contained incorrect information. He alleged he had amended his earnings information with the IRS and asked the court to order a reasonable amount based on his true earnings. The trial court declared the child-support portion of the divorce decree void, reopened the issue of child support, and ultimately issued a new order.
After the court declared the child support void, the father filed an amended counter-petition, but did not allege any of the children had been emancipated or request a credit for amounts already paid. The mother did not file an amended pleading.