Divorce cases are complex and can take a toll on the divorcing parties if they can’t agree on how to best care for their children. Disputes on child support can quickly escalate if the parents can’t resolve the issue amicably. In most cases, the noncustodial parent is obligated to pay child support, and this often happens to be the father.
This has been the way court proceedings have gone for years. Sadly, your ex-wife may not have the child’s best interest at heart and may be out to exploit you when you’re the one paying child support. They may refuse to work and decide to live off your payments, which can thwart the agreement. If this is your predicament, contact a Germantown law firm for advice.
Is It Common for the Custodial Parent to Quit Work After Receiving Child Support?
Both parents are responsible for their child’s support, care, and welfare. The court considers the financial capability of both parents when making the decision, with each contributing some amount for child support based on their income. However, the custodial parent may refuse to work because of the payments they receive, and the situation has become rampant.
Fathers paying child support can sue their ex-spouses who refuse to work to force them to go to work. Nonetheless, courts may determine that it’s reasonable for the custodial parent to stay home and care for the children. You can also file a lawsuit with the help of Germantown child support attorneys to enhance the outcome of the case in your favor.
It Is Unfair for My Ex-Spouse to Refuse to Work. What Can I Do About It?
It can become frustrating if your ex-wife intentionally quits their job to live off the child support payments you make. That’s because it increases your financial burden for caring for the children, and you end up paying more than you would if your ex was working. The money also goes towards caring for her, which is not fair.
The situation can take a mental and emotional toll on you. You may need the court’s intervention to resolve the issue. You want to protect your rights as a father while ensuring your contribution to your child’s life goes toward the intended purpose. Child support attorneys in Germantown, MD, can guide you on the steps to take.
How Will the Court Handle My Case?
The State of Maryland takes child support issues very seriously, determining each parent’s contribution based on their earnings. If your ex-spouse is trying to play clever by quitting work to evade their responsibility to pay child support, the court can help you remedy the situation.
The court will begin by investigating if your ex-spouse stopped working voluntarily or involuntarily. It will then resolve the situation depending on the outcome of the findings.
Voluntary unemployment happens when someone has an opportunity to work and can work but intentionally chooses not to work. Examples of voluntary unemployment include:
- Quitting work to start a business or go back to school
- Voluntarily terminating their contract
- Losing their job due to illegal activity or misconduct
Involuntary unemployment is when someone loses their source of income for legitimate reasons and cannot find gainful employment despite actively looking for one. If this is your ex-spouse’s situation, they must prove to the court beyond reasonable doubt that they lost their job involuntarily and not because of any wrongdoing of their own.
Besides, they also must show that they have actively been looking for employment without much success due to limited opportunities. Involuntary employment may also happen when someone loses their job due to physical or mental incapacitation that limits their ability to earn a living.
In some situations, a person may be voluntarily underemployed, which means they don’t make enough effort to find equal or better employment than they previously had. The court can determine voluntary underemployment by looking at your ex-spouse’s employment qualifications and recent work history.
What Will Happen to My Ex After the Court Establishes the Reason for Unemployment?
If your ex-spouse is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, your child support lawyer in Germantown may ask the court to treat them as if they were working full-time. The court will calculate their child support contribution based on the determination of their potential income, which is the money they could make if they were working full-time.
In other words, the court will impute your ex-spouse’s income. The guiding principle, in this case, will be the child’s best interest, even if the parent isn’t earning that amount.
How Do Courts Decide How Much Income to Impute?
When deciding how much income to impute, courts consider the following for the non-working parent:
- Earning capacity or income potential
- Willingness and ability to work
- Opportunity to work
The court may require the parent seeking child support to provide evidence of their ability and opportunity to work. This is often in the form of a vocational expert’s report or testimony of the salaries the parent would earn if they got a job. A skilled child custody attorney in Maryland can help check that the evidence presented reflects the actual position.
A Skilled Fathers’ Rights Attorney Protecting Your Welfare
Maryland laws require that parents take responsibility for caring for and providing for their children. In most cases, mothers are given custody of their children, and fathers are supposed to pay child support. Unfortunately, a custodial parent may quit employment to live off the child support payments. This is unfair to you as a father, and you should take legal action.
Skilled child support lawyers in Maryland can help you fight for justice to protect your rights. Our firm can fight aggressively to ensure your ex-spouse meets her part of the bargain in taking care of your child. If they are acting unfairly by refusing to work, we can help you find a remedy. Book a FREE case evaluation with us today to discuss your matter.