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Can current spouse's income be factored into child support?

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Currently, I pay my ex-husband $275/mo. for child support.  Since I am a homemaker, I don't receive a paycheck.  Therefore, the current support amount was calculated based on what I would earn if I were working full-time for minimum wage.  However, every time my ex-husband gets upset, he threatens to take me back to court and have the support amount re-calculated based on my current husband's income.  


My husband makes a good living, but we have a lot of financial problems and debts from years of poor money management.  Also, we just filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  So, can my current husband's income be included in calculation of the support amount that I am ordered to pay my ex-husband?  


Additionally, I have read several posts in the forums on this topic and a majority of the answers basically stated that the current spouse's income cannot be included in support determination, unless I am "intentionally unemployed."  I don't know what is meant by that.  What is considered "intentional unemployment"?


Lastly, if my husband's income were, for some reason, included in the re-calculation of support, would the fact that we just filed bankruptcy have any bearing on that determination?  We are in Louisiana.  I'm trying to find out where the laws in my state stand regarding this issues.  Any help sorting this out is very appreciated!

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"Intentionally unemployed" simply means that you have the ability to work outside the home for pay but for whatever reason you choose not to -- in other words, you are intentionally unemployed.  In this instance, the court has the authority to impute an income to you based on your ability to earn, rather than your actual earnings.  Your spouse's separate income is not a factor in the calculation, nor will it be.  You can tell your ex to pound sand.


However, you may have to report your spouse's earnings to the court anyway, to make sure that your spouse isn't shielding your income under his.  This can happen when one spouse is employed by the other, or both spouses work for the same third party, and all or part of one spouse's pay is reported as being earned by the other, creating an illusion of low pay for the spouse who owes child support.  You'd be surprised how often this dodge is attempted.


In general, child support obligations cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.  Your other creditors might have to wait -- possibly indefinitely -- for their money, but your child's other parent will not.


I hope this answers your questions.  For more information relevant to your unique circumstances, you should consult a local family law attorney.

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The first rule of dealing with ex-spouses is to never accept what they say about the law as true without verifying it yourself first. Quite often what they tell you is flat out wrong. Louisiana’s child support provisions do not take into account your spouse’s income even when you are voluntarily unemployed. Louisiana revised statute (R.S.) section 9:315.11 states the following:


§315.11.  Voluntarily unemployed or underemployed party

A.  If a party is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, child support shall be calculated based on a determination of income earning potential, unless the party is physically or mentally incapacitated, or is caring for a child of the parties under the age of five years.  In determining the party's income earning potential, the court may consider the most recently published Louisiana Occupational Employment Wage Survey.

B.  The amount of the basic child support obligation calculated in accordance with Subsection A of this Section shall not exceed the amount which the party paying support would have owed had a determination of the other party's income earning potential not been made.

C.  A party shall not be deemed voluntarily unemployed or underemployed if he or she has been temporarily unable to find work or has been temporarily forced to take a lower paying job as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina or Rita.


There are other provisions of the child support provisions, however, that do take into account disguised or hidden income. For example, if you owned a business and that business paid your spouse a salary, those payments are presumed under Louisiana law to be your income except to the extent that you could show that the salary was fair market value for the services the spouse actually performed or that there was a history of such payments prior to the time that a child support order had been entered against you. R.S. § 9:315.1.1. Also, in some cases, your style of living can be considered a factor in determining child support, if your style of living is higher than what would be indicated by your income. Id


So, while your husband’s income is not directly used to compute support, if there are allegations that you are hiding income, your support may end up being higher based on income imputed to you. If your ex takes you back to court making that kind of allegation, you’d want to get help from a family law attorney in Louisiana to contest his claims.

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On 4/24/2019 at 8:01 PM, Ironhorse said:

In Texas doesn’t the homestead exemption protect my spouse from any  liens associated with retroactive support if I die?


Why would you tag this onto a 4 1/2 year old thread that has nothing to do with the subject of your post?

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