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Is My Ex Guilty Of Voluntary Impoverishment By Refusing To Work Or Pay Child Support?


It is not uncommon for parents who were ordered to pay child support to come up with all kinds of ways to avoid paying. One of the ways is to refuse to work to stop paying child support. However, if the parent voluntarily quits their job or decreases their income to the point where they cannot afford to support their child, the parent can be found guilty of voluntary impoverishment.

If your ex-spouse is refusing to work or pay child support, it is important to take action as soon as possible. It is advisable to contact an Orlando child support attorney to help you convince the judge that the other parent is voluntarily impoverished.

What is Voluntary Impoverishment?

A parent can be found guilty of voluntary impoverishment when there is evidence that they are trying to manipulate the legal system to avoid paying child support.

The most common example of voluntary impoverishment is when a parent voluntarily quits their job or takes a lower-paying job to make it look like they can no longer afford to make child support payments.

In other words, voluntary impoverishment is when the payor intentionally refuses to earn as much as they did or work at all to avoid paying child support due to “unemployment.”

Note: When the payor’s termination, firing, or layoff is beyond their control, they may not be not guilty of voluntary impoverishment because they did not voluntarily and intentionally choose to lose their job.

However, if the payor is fired or laid off but refuses to look for a new job to find gainful employment, their refusal to work may constitute voluntary impoverishment.

What Factors Do Courts Evaluate to Determine Voluntary Impoverishment?

The court cannot automatically find your ex-spouse guilty of voluntary impoverishment without evaluating all of the unique factors and circumstances.

In particular, courts evaluate the following factors to look for evidence of voluntary impoverishment:

  1. The reason the payor quit their job or took a lower-paying job;
  2. The reason the payor got fired, demoted, laid off, or terminated;
  3. The physical and mental health of the payor to determine their earning capacity;
  4. The payor’s job skills and education to evaluate their ability to find gainful employment;
  5. Whether the parent missed any child support payments or refused to pay in the past; and
  6. Other arguments raised by the recipient parent to determine voluntary impoverishment.

Once the court determines that the payor has no valid reasons to avoid paying child support, it will launch an in-depth investigation to find evidence of involuntary impoverishment.

If the court determines that the payor is deliberately earning less in order to avoid paying child support, the court can enforce the order based on the original amount of child support.

However, if the court determines that the payor lost their job or income involuntarily and the parent cannot find gainful employment after reasonable attempts have been made, the judge can modify the order to change the original amount.

Contact an Orlando Child Support Attorney to Discuss Your Case

If you believe that your former spouse refuses to pay child support due to voluntary impoverishment, speak with a lawyer right away. Schedule a consultation with our Orlando child support lawyers at Greater Orlando Family Law by calling 407-377-6399.

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