If you have an irregular income and need to pay child support, it can be tough to figure out exactly how much you should pay. Usually, courts look at your overall income as well as weekly or monthly incomes to calculate your child support payment. However, for parents who have irregular incomes, that arrangement can make child support calculations challenging.

It’s important that any child support paid is based on dependable income. For example, if you regularly earn $1,000 monthly from one consistent source, this $1,000 should be included in the calculation. Other income that isn’t regular may not be able to be included, since including it could place a hardship on the parent. For instance, if it’s overtime income, they may not have it in the future and should, potentially, not have it included in the calculation to determine support.

What are the guidelines for child support in Texas?

The guidelines for child support suggest that the noncustodial parent should pay 20% of their net income for one child. If the parent’s net income varies wildly, it can be difficult to figure out what they should pay. Remember, net income is income from all resources after taxes and health insurance for the child have been deducted.

One option you may have is to determine your average income to pay an annual support amount. You may negotiate monthly sums based on the previous year’s net income and revisit it annually to make adjustments, too. For instance, if you pay support on an expected $120,000 of income and end up earning $150,000, you could settle the additional 20% of $30,000 in earnings expected for a single child at the end of the year. If you earn less than expected, you could seek a modification to reduce what you pay.

There are ways to adapt a child support plan for parents with irregular incomes. What may work for your situation won’t necessarily be the plan that others would use. It’s worth looking at legal options that may be allowed, since this is not an uncommon problem for freelancers, independent contractors and others who work on a project-by-project basis.