Divorce is stressful and can take a toll on you where finances and child support are concerned. While both parents are responsible for their child’s support and care, the situation can become complex if one parent refuses to work because they receive child support from their ex-spouse.
If you’re a man in this predicament, you may feel like your ex-wife has made you their cash cow, especially if you also pay her living expenses. Their action could thwart the child support and alimony payments and land you into more immense financial constraints. Your best response would be to consult a fathers’ rights attorney in California to evaluate your rights and what to do.
Is It Common for the Custodial Parent to Quit Work After Receiving Child Support?
In most child support cases, the non-custodial parent should pay child support to the parent with custody. That has been how court proceedings turn out in California for many years. The court considers the financial capability of both parents. Each contributes some amount for child support depending on their income.
However, the issue of the parent receiving child support refusing to work has become rampant. Some non-custodial parents attempt to sue their ex-spouse to force them to go to work. However, courts may determine that it’s perfectly reasonable for the custodial parent to stay home and take care of the child, depending on specific circumstances.
If you’re in a similar situation, you may need the court’s intervention to resolve the issue. Let a child custody lawyer for men in Riverside guide you on what to do and what the case’s outcome might be. The aim is to protect your rights as a father and ensure your contribution to your child’s care is not wrongfully exploited.
Why the Child Support Situation is “Unfair”
One reason why child support can become frustrating is that, in most cases, fathers are the ones required to pay. While they want the best for their children, the situation can become emotionally draining if the mother refuses to work.
That’s because the father’s obligation to pay child support becomes even more significant as the burden of caring for the children falls solely on him. Fathers forfeit a considerable amount of their salary to care for the child and ex-spouse simultaneously because she has no income. Let a skilled California fathers’ rights lawyer evaluate your case and help you resolve the matter.
What Can I Do if My Ex-Spouse Voluntarily Quits Employment?
One of the things you can do when your ex-spouse quits employment is to ask the court to determine if the unemployment is voluntary or involuntary. A child support lawyer for men in Riverside can guide you on the steps to take. The court may establish that the reason for your ex-spouse’s unemployment is one of the following:
Involuntary employment happens when a parent loses their job for a legitimate reason and can’t find work despite reasonable efforts. In such a situation, the parent must prove to the court that they lost their job involuntarily. They also must show diligent efforts to find another job or an inability to find another job because of a lack of opportunities.
Unemployment may also be involuntary if the unemployed parent suffers physical or mental disabilities that limit their ability to work. The court won’t impute the parent’s income if their reason for being unemployed is legitimate.
Voluntary unemployment happens when a parent can work and has an opportunity but chooses not to work. Examples include:
- Voluntary early retirement
- Losing a job due to illegal activity or misconduct
- Voluntary termination
- Quitting work to return to school
This happens when parents don’t make enough effort to find employment at a level equal to or better than their previous income. The court will assess their employment qualifications and recent work history to determine if the parent is working below full capacity.
Voluntary underemployment includes refusing to reasonably use or invest their assets or voluntarily cutting back on their work hours.
What Happens After the Court Establishes the Reason for Unemployment?
If the court finds that your ex-spouse is unemployed or works below full capacity, it will consider their reasons for unemployment or underemployment. If it determines that the parent is unwilling to work or get the employment they should, the court will impute their income. That’s as long as assigning the salary is consistent with the child’s best interests.
A court may also impute your ex-spouse’s income if they drop from full-time employment or part-time employment to pursue education or some matters of personal interest. Resigning from a job to start a business is another reason the court may impute your ex-spouse’s salary.
What is Imputing Income to an Unemployed Parent
Once the court decides to impute a parent’s income, it will attribute or credit income to the parent even if they’re not earning that amount. Judges impute salaries to ensure the child’s needs are met and parents don’t evade their parental responsibilities just because the other pays support.
The judge will base their calculations on what a parent should earn, which may be more than the current income. Overall, income imputation is only applicable in voluntary unemployment or underemployment cases. A judge won’t simply impute income based on a parent’s theoretical ability to get a better-paying job.
If you believe there is enough reason for your ex-spouse’s income to be imputed in your child’s best interest, consult a Riverside child support lawyer for men for legal counsel.
Skilled Legal Guide Helping Protect Fathers’ Rights
Several frustrations could arise during or after a divorce. It can be unfair when your ex-spouse decides to stop working so they can live off the amount you pay for child support. The court can evaluate whether the condition of unemployment is voluntary and impute your ex-spouse’s income to force them to contribute to your child’s income.
During this time, you need the legal counsel and support of a professional Riverside child support lawyer for men. Our compassionate legal team will skillfully help you navigate this trying moment. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation.