Financial threats made during divorce are common and usually not taken seriously. A person who is hurt, angry, and stressed out will say many things that he or she will come to regret over the course of a legal dispute. Unfortunately, quitting a job to avoid paying child support is one threat that people often make a reality. During a divorce, it is normal to feel as though your spouse is planning to use your child to get money out of you simply to punish you. The idea of paying a monthly stipend to a person you cannot stand in addition to your own living expenses is sometimes hard to come to terms with. Before you quit your job, please keep in mind that quitting your job to avoid paying child support is something that never seems to end well.
In Georgia, both parents of a child are able to request a child support modification in certain circumstances. Usually the parent must prove that either they, the child, or the other parent has experienced a substantial change in circumstances in order to have a modification request approved. These changes are usually a change in income, receiving a financial windfall (large inheritance or winning the lottery), losing a job, or either a parent or child becoming disabled. A limited number of modification requests can be made, so it is important to only request a modification when one is seriously needed. Currently, filing for a child support modification costs $100.00 unless the parent is receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
One of the reasons a parent may decide to follow through on a threat to quit a job is because modification is allowed when a parent experiences a significant change in income. What is often overlooked is the fact that the reduction must be involuntary. A person who knowingly quits a job is making a choice to reduce his or her income. If you purposefully leave your job without having any alternative options for employment or choose to accept a job that pays substantially less than your previous job, do not expect an automatic reduction in child support. Before the court will make changes to your child support order, it will want to be sure that you did not lose your job on purpose.
The Past Will Haunt You
The average person does not quit a job on purpose solely to avoid paying child support, but unfortunately your past threats or actions may make it hard for you to convince others that your actions were anything other than intentional. A person who follows through with the threat to quit a job often gives some form of advance warning to his or her former partner, an attorney, or in court. Once you do quit your job, expect your former spouse to present text messages, emails, and other documentation to prove that your job loss was intentional. An angry spouse will go to any lengths to expose any suspected misdeeds. If the court agrees with those claims, you could find yourself responsible for paying the original child support amount even though your income is reduced or nonexistent.
Vayman & Teitelbaum
The child support attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum understand how stressful being ordered to pay a large amount of child support is. Our team is prepared to offer you legal advice that will help you find ways to navigate the court order without doing anything to hurt your chance of future changes to the child support amount. We are prepared to work with you to find a legal way to help you manage your child support obligation. Contact one of our conveniently located Atlanta, Georgia offices so that we can begin providing you with the representation you need.