Unemployment and Underemployment: How Do They Affect Child Support Calculations?
Determining child support can be a very concerning issue when a couple with children is going through a divorce. One of the factors considered when calculating child support is the unemployment or underemployment of the paying parent.
Child support can be a vital source of income for custodial parents, and it’s essential to understand how unemployment or underemployment can affect your payment amount.
Determining Child Support with an Unemployed Parent
In a situation where one party is unemployed and unable to pay for child support in Michigan, various factors may contribute to the final decision made by the court. One such factor is the unemployed parent’s earning potential.
Other factors that are considered include:
- Number of children being supported
- Age of the children
- Level of education and training the unemployed parent has
- Whether the unemployment is voluntary or involuntary
If a parent has been laid off from their job due to unavoidable circumstances, they may be able to get a child support modification. However, the court may require the unemployed parent to look for a job and make a reasonable effort to find employment.
If the court finds that the unemployed parent is not making any effort to find work, the required payments may be treated differently under Michigan law.
Willful Unemployment or Underemployment
In determining a Michigan child support obligation, the court may impute income to a willfully unemployed or underemployed parent. This means that the court will assign an income amount that the parent should be earning based on their earning potential and work history.
If the paying parent is not working to their full capacity, the court may find them voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.
It’s important to note that if the paying parent loses their job after finalizing the divorce, they are still obligated to make child support payments. The court will recalculate the amount of child support based on the new income information, and the parent will have to show that they are making a good-faith effort to find new employment.
Is the Obligor’s Employment Status Involuntary?
If the paying parent’s (also known as the obligor) unemployment or underemployment is involuntary, their income will not be used to calculate child support payments. This means that the child support amount will revolve around the non-paying parent’s income alone.
The court may consider the obligor’s employment status involuntary if they lost their job due to unavoidable circumstances. The court may also consider the obligor’s employment status to be involuntary if they work less than full-time due to a disability.
The court will only consider the employment status of the paying parent as involuntary if it is reported to the court. If the obligor does not disclose their employment status, the court may not consider it in their child support calculations.
Speak with a Michigan Family Law Attorney
Things can get complicated very fast when it comes to divorce and child support. If you’re dealing with an unemployed or underemployed co-parent, it’s vital to seek legal counsel and understand how that will affect your case.
At Gucciardo Family Law, our team of experienced Michigan family law attorneys will help you understand your options and protect your interests. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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