Child Support & Unemployed/Underemployed Parent

Child Support & Unemployed/Underemployed Parent

A change in a parent’s employment status, whether terminated, fired or a layoff, can result in a modification of child support.  However, the court may ask first what was the basis and nature of the change.  Was a parent involuntarily let go or did they voluntarily quit in an effort to avoid paying child support?  If it’s the latter case, the Court will not be sympathetic to make a change.  As to layoffs, the Court will question whether it’s merely very short term, or likely extend over quite some period of time.

The individual paying child support is known as the ‘obligor’.  The individual receiving support is the ‘obligee’.

Hiding income?

Another frequent issue is that a parent being asked to pay child support (‘obligor’) will attempt to hide their income.  This is most common where the Obligor has their own business. In these cases, individuals have found clever ways to mask real income.  Also, some individuals receive payment for their services through cash, which they don’t always report on their tax returns.  There have been cases where Obligors claim to be living off minimum wage equivalent earnings.  Yet, they drive fancy, expensive vehicles, live a luxurious lifestyle and possess many ‘toys’.  Here, it’s particularly important to have aggressive, proactive legal counsel that move quickly on discovery requests.

Underemployed Parent

In setting child support, Courts will also look to whether a parent is underemployed, meaning generally less than 40 hours per week (in some employment, a 32-hour or 36-hour work week might be standard).  If so, they will ‘impute’ your income which means to either add income based on your prior work history or, if that work history is minimal and you are able bodied, they might go with minimum wage as a base level.

If you are facing a child support proceeding, our office has experience working to put clients in the best light at these proceedings. Call our office today (218) 722-5809 or contact us  to arrange an appointment.

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