In this video attorney Megan Wilson answers if child support can be waived. View the video below or see the transcript below to hear Megan’s answer to this difficult situation.
Hey guys, this is once again Megan Wilson with Douglas and Runger, and I am back to discuss another frequently asked question that comes up a lot in my practice and that I get asked a lot.
So, all the time when we get a child support order and we’re seeking a child support order. The parent who is, or will be obligated to pay child support says to my client sometimes to myself, well, simply pay child support, I’ll just quit my job. That’s not an original idea. In fact, people have been doing that so long that the law has caught up to them. And we know how long it takes a lot to catch up to anything. So if someone is working steadily, let’s say a parent is working and makes $60,000 a year. They’ve had this job for a couple of years. And we go to court, we could talk for issued, child support order issued for a certain amount based on that income, and then as soon as the wage garnishment, which is the order that takes the money directly out of their check takes effect they quit their job. So then they fall modification that back in court, and said, I lost my job, I can’t. Hmm, that’s not going to be good. That’s my one to absolve them of jobs. Have you lost your job or not your child still has. So, that’s not gonna be enough to modify. Also, I’ve had this happen in many cases where we get a contempt order or case or something. And the solution is quit your job. I haven’t had one case where someone was complaining about their childhood or going up on Facebook, and one of his friends told him, it just quit your job and get paid on the table. And typically, wouldn’t really be relevant or reliable evidence for me to present that Facebook comment to the court. However, that’s exactly what he did. Two weeks later, it makes a little more relevant when you get this advice but then you take it. And so in cases like that we can actually subpoena the personnel file that shows that this person quit their job, they were fired, they were laid off, they quit and if they quit that makes them willfully unemployed, which means that you were unemployed by choice that you can earn this $60,000 a year, and you choose not to. And so the courts are gonna lean into Thomas’s jobs for $60,000 a year. They’re not going to the courts not going to change it and say, well, you make zero so we’ll use zero to get a job and that’s not how that works. That would be rewarding bad behavior without rewarding. He attempted to manipulate the world by lowering self worth based on somebody winning or not. If that was the case then every time I needed to get a job or order or a wage garnishment certainly on attack. They just want it, and then the court would blow it and it would be. Never. nothing it’s not that we’re ending with some litigants, where a child support Weingarten takes back the money they quit, they get another job takes a couple of months for that wage garnishments taken away from them they see from others that they quit again. We’re and we’ll just keep going down that cycle, because the courts are not going to change the order. If you can show that they are willfully unemployed. Also similarly is willfully underemployed. The law has been through those words in it, willfully underemployed locally, and that means that say someone has a doctorate in his work, making a significant income, and instead they decided that it is their life’s passion to teach, which is a great thing. But if their income is a third of what it could be what it was when they were working with a doctor. Well then they could have that income imputed to them with a higher amount and you didn’t mean the court is going to assign that income to you because it’s what you could be earning. It’s your earning potential you are willfully underemployed. The same thing goes for somebody who is a truck driver is used to making a significant income, and they get that job court order, and they quit driving and they go work at McDonald’s for minimal wage. That’s fine if that’s what you want to do. However, the court is not going to penalize your child. Take your child because of your decision because it is a decision. And that’s what the court would say enough the court has to determine is that it’s a decision to Well, he decided to quit this job, you decide to make minimum wage when you could be making and have a significantly more. So we’re not wanting to take on your child because of your choices. So that’s kind of a basis of what woefully unwholesome woefully under and unemployed is a sign on the wall. And what will happen if somebody responds to getting child support or increased jobs or is to quit their job. Even if they quit their job before we get a child support order if we can show that they were making that amount, and they quit, or failing really, but they were making a certain amount and they’re no longer. You can still get that income imputed to them because it’s what their earning potential is. They have the capacity to earn. So even if they do it before the words in place and not just as a result of the order, the court can still probably impede that income to them. So, quitting your job to avoid jobs for water is not going to lower your job. It might be harder to collect it but it’s not going to lower the amount because you chose to quit your job. So that’s just a quick explanation of willfully underemployed and willfully unemployed, and how that works in the courts, as far as child support modifications and stopping child support. So I hope you learned a lot. Thanks for watching.
If you have any further questions do not hesitate to call Curt or his team at Douglass and Runger at (901) 388-5805 relating to other questions you may have about the will divorce process.