Can Ex-Partners Quit Their Jobs to Get More Child Support?
With the cost of raising a child steadily increasing, many ex-partners find themselves overwhelmed by the ever-expanding financial burden of providing for their children. This often leads them to wonder if they are able to quit their job in order to obtain more child support. The answer is not as simple as it seems and can vary depending on the individual state in which they live.
What Does the Law Say?
Generally speaking, one parent cannot purposely reduce their income in order to increase the amount of child support they receive. This means that if a court has determined the amount that one parent must pay based on an existing employment situation, that amount cannot be changed by voluntarily changing job status. That said, there are some exceptions to this rule.
Are There Exceptions?
In some cases, a court will take into account a parent’s current earning capacity, or potential earning capacity, in determining the amount of child support to be paid. In this case, a parent might be able to quit their job and still receive the same amount of child support as before. However, this is not always the case and there is usually a much closer scrutiny than when other factors are at play.
What Factors Might Be Considered?
In order to determine if the change in job status is valid and justifiable, the court will take into account a variety of different factors, including:
- Ability to Work: The court will take into account the individual’s ability to find and keep a job, as well as their past history of employment.
- Income Potential: The court will consider the potential income from the types of jobs that can be realistically obtained by the individual.
- Education, Training and Experience: The court will look at any education, training or experience the person might have that would make them a desirable candidate for employment in the current job market.
- Current Employment Situation: The court will take into consideration any changes in the individual’s employment situation since the original court order was issued.
The bottom line is that each case must be evaluated on its own merits, and it cannot be assumed that a parent can quit their job to gain a higher rate of child support. Each parent’s situation must be carefully looked at and discussed, as the decision to quit a job can have far-reaching, and often negative, financial consequences.