My Husband Owes Child Support


My husband and I are getting ready to file our taxes for the years 2004-2007. He owes back child support for his two kids from a previous relationship and I would like to know if we should file married jointly or separately.

I’ve made considerably more money than he has over the last five years and we have two kids together. Will child support agency consider our household income to calculate his child support payments or will they only use the part that he earned. We live in California.





The applicable income information, whether from tax records, employment records, or other sources, will be reviewed in setting child support.  The form of your filing your taxes will not affect the information used, as the figures for calculating the child support are determined by the child support laws, which may or may not be the same as your husband’s income under the tax laws.  Your income may or may not be a factor as to your husband’s ability to pay child support, which again would be determined based upon your finances and is generally independent of your tax filing status.

The tax filing status will probably affect the combined total taxes you and your husband pay.  As your husband’s child support normally is calculated after deducting the taxes paid or due, it is important to have the actual amount of taxes paid on his income available to challenge any support calculations.

More of a concern is that he owes back support and that any refund that may be due on any tax return filed by him may be intercepted by the State to satisfy a back child support amount.  While you can petition for return of the portion of the refund attributable to your income, that is an additional process that may warrant filing separately to avoid the complications.

How you should file your taxes requires an evaluation by your tax preparer as to the tax implications of each filing option and then a review by your divorce attorney as to the child support impact, if any, as to each option.  You can then weight the advantages and disadvantages of each option, both as to tax liability and child support impact.

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