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.

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