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How Is Child Support Determined When a Parent Has No Income

Federal laws give all states guidelines for the calculation of child support. However, the guidelines are state specific. Consult Foothill Ranch Family Lawyer for more information regarding child support.

The factors that determine the guidelines in all the states include the following:

  • Needs of the child

The child’s needs include health insurance, education, daycare charges, and any additional requirements that must be fulfilled for the child to thrive.

  • Income of the partners

The custodial parent’s income and requirements are considered, along with the paying parent’s capacity. The goal is to maintain the standards of living previously enjoyed by the child and spouse.

Before deciding on child support terms, the courts ask the parents to fill out a form that entails a complete detail of their financial conditions. 

What happens when the parent does not have an income?

If one of the parents does not have a source of income or they are unable to pay child support, they are still required by the law to pay the child support every month duly. In case there is no steady source of income, the income will be decided based on the parent’s old work salary or the current earning potential.

If the parent is currently unemployed or working at a low-wage job, the court may assess the parent’s employment history before his current job. This will help in the determination of their earning capacity in the future.

The obligation to pay child support depends on the parent’s abilities and the available opportunities within or outside their profession. 

 Avoidance of Child support Payment by parents 

In some instances, a parent may choose to remain unemployed on purpose to avoid the obligation to pay child support. The courts have no tolerance for this kind of conduct and will release an order obligating the child support payment based on imputed income. The court will make decisions that primarily serve the child’s interests over anything else and mandate the amount of child support needed to meet the daily requirements.

What happens if the parent really cannot afford Child Support?

If you fail to make child support payments on time, you may risk accruing an arrearage. Additionally, it allows your spouse to file contempt action, which will legally enforce child support. This method will drain your finances as the process will require court fees and litigation expenses. Other than that, if you seek an informal arrangement with your ex-spouse regarding the payments, it is still not equivalent to fulfilling your legal duty of child support payment. The only legally correct option in such a situation is seeking a child support modification approved by the court.

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