Calculating Child Support: Whose Income Is Used?

Houston Divorce LawyerQuestion:

We share joint physical custody almost 50/50, but my ex is listed as the primary custodial parent simply because she works from home.

Because she is listed as the primary parent, I am obligated to pay child support yet the child support calculations did not account for her salary. Is this correct?

Also, if we are splitting parenting time why is it that I am obligated to pay child support simply because of a technicality that we had to list one parent as “primary”?


This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Texas and am thus unable to provide specific advice on divorce and child support laws. My answer is based off Texas child support laws.

Child support is based on the obligor’s net resources. When a primary conservator is established, it is customary to delegate the exclusive right to receive child support to the conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child. The courts do not calculate or consider guideline child support based on the obligee’s monthly income.

How Much Should You Be Paying?

Child Support Calculators

Where I practice, the child support laws provide that parties can submit an agreed parenting plan appointing both parents as joint managing conservators without the designation of the conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child, as long a the child’s primary residence shall be within a specified geographic area.

It is not uncommon for these types of “agreed plans” to include a provision of no child support or provide that each conservator provide for the financial needs of the child while in their care. In order to revisit this portion of your decree you will need to file a modification stating that the order is not workable.

Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion and financial advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a divorce lawyer.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Houston Divorce Lawyer Robin W. Klein, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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One comment on “Calculating Child Support: Whose Income Is Used?

    Why is that the Woman always gets to be “primary?”
    I am in Missouri… I live in a better area, better school district (Stated by the US not personal opinion), and since I didn’t have a lawyer to fight for me I was automatically pushed off to side on any decision factors. I don’t understand why the Father is always seen as the Mother is! So, my questions is what does the Woman always get “primary” custody?

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