Can My Ex Quit His Job So He Doesn't Have to Pay Child Support?

By Dennis Masino

Each state and the federal government have enacted laws to aid in the enforcement of a parent's court-ordered obligation to pay child support. Only a modification of the original support order can reduce or end the support obligation. A parent who is unable to pay child support in the amount specified in a support order must make an application to the court for modification. Unemployment, whether voluntary or involuntary, does not suspend a parent's obligations under a child support order.

Support Obligation

A parent's obligation to pay child support may be contained in a judgment or decree of divorce or separation, or in a court order in a support proceeding. Subsequent changes in employment, income or the needs of the child may form the basis for a modification of the original support order, but only if the parent seeking the modification makes a formal written request to the court that is known as a motion. Absent a motion for modification, the original court order and the obligation to pay child support remain unchanged.

Loss of Income

A loss of income due to unemployment, illness, injury or other circumstance does not automatically release a parent from the obligation to pay court-ordered child support. It makes no difference whether the reduction or loss of income is caused by the voluntary actions of the paying parent or by circumstances beyond his control. If the parent who is obligated to pay child support has income from unemployment benefits, most states allow the amount of the child support to be deducted from those benefits.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Imputing Income

A court can review a person's education, work history, health, age and other factors to determine whether he is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed in order to purposely avoid complying with his court-ordered child support obligation. If this is found to be the case, a judge may impute the person's income based on the amount he could earn in light of his earnings history if he were employed full-time. A court will not impute earnings if the person is legitimately unemployable.

Grounds for Modification

A person who is unemployed or whose income has decreased must make a motion asking the court to reduce the child support obligation. Support arrears continue to accrue up to the date the modification motion is made. Most states do not allow a court to relieve a person from support arrears accruing prior to the filing of the modification motion. A person seeking a modification of child support must prove a substantial, unanticipated change of circumstances. A judge is unlikely to grant a modification request based on a voluntary resignation from employment or reduction of hours worked.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Reasons to Deviate From California Guidelines for Child Support
 

References

Related articles

What Are the Child Support Laws in West Virginia?

Parents have the responsibility to financially support their children, whether the parents are married or not. When parents divorce in West Virginia, the court issues a child support order to ensure the child receives adequate support even though he is living with only one parent at a time. To calculate the amount of support, courts use guidelines set out in West Virginia’s child support laws.

Provisions of Chapter 13 of the Federal Bankruptcy Laws

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a form of personal bankruptcy that allows an individual’s debt to be adjusted if he has a regular income. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a Chapter 13 proceeding allows the debtor to keep property and pay debts over time rather than liquidating assets to pay creditors. One advantage of Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the opportunity for the debtor to save his home from foreclosure and even stop a foreclosure already in progress.

Questions About Child Support in South Carolina

When parents divorce, determining child support can feel like solving a math problem. South Carolina, like other states, uses a specific formula for calculating the amount that the parent with physical custody of the child, known as the custodial parent, should receive. The other parent, referred to as the non-custodial parent, may then request certain adjustments to the base figure. Further, either parent may pursue a modification of an existing order if the circumstances change after a child support order is issued.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How Much Pay Can Be Garnished for Child Support in Florida?

Florida law gives children the right to receive financial support from both their parents until they reach 18. Florida ...

New Mexico Child Support Regulations

In New Mexico, the amount of child support is determined based on the principle that a child should receive the same ...

Can You Change Your Divorce Five Years Later in New York?

Whether you have been divorced for five years or five months, you may ask the courts in New York to modify your divorce ...

California Family Laws on Terminating Child Support

Both parents have a responsibility to provide for the financial needs of their minor children in California. When one ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED