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Can You Be Ordered to Pay Child Support When You Have No Income?

no income to pay child supportSan Diego, CA – When family court hands down an order for child support, parties with no income to speak of may find themselves panicked. With hefty fines and even jail time facing those who fall delinquent with their court-ordered child support payments, it isn’t difficult to comprehend that a person with no means to support themselves would automatically think the worst if faced with jail over paying money that they don’t have.

What is the answer to this pressing question that plagues California divorcees on a regular basis?

California divorce lawyer John Griffith of Griffith, Young, and Lass, serving San Diego and Carlsbad said, “Parties ordered to pay child support by a family court judge may think they are off the hook if they have no income to report, but not so fast.”

Many Factors to Consider

Griffith points to several factors that family judges look at when handing down a decision. Griffith also notes that judges will always do what is in the best interests of the children when handing down judgments like child support orders.

Judges can order child support based on the parent’s prior earning history and marketable skills, as well as on non-income generating assets that have the potential to produce income.

“If you are facing problems at work or you have just been fired, those situations also won’t completely bar you from receiving a child support order. A judge can propose income based on your previous work history if the court determines that you have the ability to find work, even if it is outside the work you usually engage in,” Griffith said.

A judge will take into account disabilities and other issues that prevent a person from working and earning income, but the law is designed to keep parents providing for their children; their ultimate responsibility.

Urging Parents to Face Responsibility

“The key concept here is a choice,” Griffith said. “If a parent refuses to work or chooses not to take a job they may be qualified for because they want to pursue another field entirely, the judge may order child support based on the person’s work history, skillsets and knowledge, and not necessarily on the job or field the parent chooses to go into.

“Parents have a responsibility to support their children and cannot avoid that responsibility by choosing not to work, or to work in a field that pays less because they are following their passions or dreams,” Griffith said.

Of course, Griffith added, California family court law cases are rarely so black and white. There are almost always extenuating circumstances that require the experience and training of a certified, proven and trusted family law attorney.

When it comes to no income and child support, Griffith urges married partners going through a divorce to contact a divorce lawyer to sift through the details.

“Child support is but one item in a divorce case that can get complicated quickly,” Griffith said. “You need proven advice if you hope to generate the best possible outcome for your case.”

To learn more about how child support is ordered and calculated, call or email San Diego divorce attorney John Griffith of GYL today.

© 2017 Millionairium and Griffith, Young & Lass. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Griffith, Young & Lass are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

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Meet Your Dedicated San Diego Family Attorneys
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

Family Attorney, John N. Griffith, CFLS

John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.


Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.
Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

San Diego family lawyer Catie Young has a wide range of litigation experience. She has worked in civil litigation. She has successfully represented clients in many areas of family law including child support, child custody, divorce and domestic violence. She has a unique approach to each child custody case, so clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases.


Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.
Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Family Attorney, Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting and went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. Amy takes a practical and cost considerate approach to the process while striving to balance the emotional needs and objectives of her clients.


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The Typical Divorce Process in California
Discovery of Assets & Obligations (1-3 months)
1 Complaint for Divorce Filed Start of litigation
2 Complaint is Served Varies, but usually shortly after the complaint is filed
3 Answer to Complaint Due 30 days from the date of service
4 Mediation Anytime, but usually after initial discovery
5 Temporary Hearing Usually early in the process
6 Late Case Evaluation / Judicial Hosted Settlement Conference Usually near the end of the case
7 Trial (If Needed) The goal is to settle, but if your case goes to trial, it could take months after the start of litigation.
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