Voluntary Impoverishment Law and Legal Definition

Voluntary impoverishment happens when a parent who owes child support either stops working, or works below their capacity, in order to avoid paying child support. In short, the parent deprives him/herself of resources to avoid the child support obligation. This manipulation of the system leaves many single parent families without the necessary child support payments they had previously relied on. In such situations, the other parent can ask the court to attribute income to a parent who has quit or changed his/her job to avoid paying child support. Generally, when deciding whether a parent has voluntarily impoverished him/herself, the court looks at the following factors:

1.

physical condition.

2.

level of education.

3.

timing of the change in jobs or financial circumstances.

4.

relationship of the parents before the start of the proceedings.

5.

efforts to find or keep a job.

6.

efforts to get any necessary training.

7.

whether s/he has withheld support in the past.

8.

work history.

9.

other considerations presented by the parties.

Once the court finds that the parent has voluntarily impoverished him/herself, the court decides that parent’s potential income. For calculating the potential income, apart from the factors listed above the court looks at the state of the job market, assets, age, income from other sources and prior earnings.