If I Decide To Quit My Job, Do I Still Have To Pay Child Support?
It is inevitable that some parents will choose to quit their jobs from time to time. However, how does this decision impact a parent who is responsible for making child support payments? The following article will discuss whether a parent who is making child support payments can stop making these payments if he or she voluntarily decides to quit.
Voluntary unemployment versus underemployment
Before discussing whether a parent who pays child support must continue to do so after choosing to quit, it is important to make a distinction between voluntary unemployment and underemployment.
- Voluntary unemployment: Voluntary unemployment means that a parent is capable of working but simply chooses not to. This involves quitting a job, getting purposely terminated, or refusing to apply to another job after losing one.
- Underemployment: With the concept of underemployment, a parent has the opportunity to work at a well-paying job but instead has chosen to pursue a career far below their education level or income potential. This can include turning down a promotion or significantly reducing work hours without a valid medical reason.
Will a court suspend my requirement to pay child support if I choose to quit my job?
A court is highly unlikely to suspend your requirement to pay child support if you choose to quit your job. The rationale behind this is that courts believe that child support rightfully belongs to the child and is crucial to that child’s growth and development. The court is also skeptical of some parents who would purposely attempt to dramatically reduce their incomes so that their child support payments will not be as substantial. Instead, the court will attempt to impute income on a parent who quits his or her job. Imputing income means that a court will treat the parent as though he or she is actually receiving income for purposes of calculating their child support obligations.
How does the court impute income to parents who have quit their jobs?
According to Florida Statute § 61.30(2)(b), monthly income will be imputed to an unemployed or underemployed parent if such unemployment or underemployment was voluntary (absent a finding of physical or mental incapacity or other circumstances over which the parent has no control). In order to impute income, the court will consider the parent’s recent work history, occupational qualifications, and the prevailing earnings level in the community. If the information concerning a parent’s income is unavailable, if a parent fails to participate in a child support proceeding, or if a parent fails to supply adequate financial information in a child support proceeding, income will be automatically imputed to the parent and there is a rebuttable presumption that the parent has income equivalent to the median income of year-round full-time workers as derived from current population reports or replacement reports published by the United States Bureau of the Census. However, the court may refuse to impute income to a parent if the court finds it necessary for that parent to stay home with the child who is the subject of a child support calculation.
It is important to note that courts cannot impute income based on:
- Income records that are more than 5 years old at the time of the hearing or trial at which imputation is sought
- Income at a level that a party has never actually earned in the past, unless the parent has recently become degreed, licensed, certified, relicensed, or recertified and is now qualified for that income level
Schedule a Consultation with an Orlando Family Law Attorney
If you need additional information about child support issues, please contact Arwani Law Firm. Our experienced Orlando family law attorneys will answer any questions you may have regarding family law issues such as child support and custody.