Can I quit my job to take care of a disabled child, and have child support go up?
Question: If I had a job when I got divorced, but then voluntarily quit my job to take care of a disabled child, would my ex’s child support go up, since it is based on my employment? In other words, can the child support obligation be increased due to the level of care required for disabled child and the care-providing parent’s inability to work as a result?
Answer: Your question consists of several parts, so let’s address each part separately.
Part 1: If I had a job when I got divorced, but then voluntarily quit my job, would my ex’s child support go up? Now I realize this is not the full question you are asking, but it’s a good place to start.
Answer to Part 1: If you voluntarily quit my job simply because you don’t want to work as much or as hard as your job required, that is known as “self-impoverishing” or “voluntarily impoverishing” yourself, and the court will not reward self-impoverishment by increasing child support.
Part 2: If I had a job when I got divorced, but then voluntarily quit my job to take care of a disabled child, would my ex’s child support go up?
Answer to Part 2: Start with Utah Code Section 78B-12-203. Utah Code Section 78B-12-203(7) provides, in pertinent part:
(d) Income may not be imputed if any of the following conditions exist and the condition is not of a temporary nature:
(i) the reasonable costs of child care for the parents’ minor children approach or equal the amount of income the custodial parent can earn;
(iv) unusual emotional or physical needs of a child require the custodial parent’s presence in the home.
1) if the costs of child care are equal to or exceed your income that you would otherwise earn to pay for child care, then the argument could be made that you as a parent are not required to work to pay a child care provider when it is cheaper and more beneficial to the child for you to provide personal care; and/or
2) unusual emotional or physical needs of a child require the custodial parent’s presence in the home,
then it is possible (possible, not guaranteed) that you could quit your job to stay home and care for your children AND have the other parent’s child support obligation go up as a result.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277