Is Spousal Support Affected If My Ex Quits Their Jobs?

If the spouse who has been ordered to pay child support experiences a significant reduction in their income, like through a demotion or a loss of work, it is not always enough to reduce child support. This type of circumstance, however, can impact spousal support. Regardless, there have been many instances where the loss of work is the result of the supporter quitting or voluntarily leaving, which in some cases is used as a ploy to get a reduction in support requirements.

As made clear in the Federal Child Support Guidelines, the court may attribute income to a spouse, regardless if income is being earned or not. With regard to imputing income, one of the circumstances considered when a court is planning to award spousal support are if the spouse is intentionally underemployed or unemployed, other than instances where the underemployment or unemployment is required by the needs of a child of the marriage or any child under the age of majority, or due to reasonable educational or health needs of the spouse. Moreover, the courts really don’t like when a parent tries to evade support obligations, especially child support.

In the end, quitting your job is a deliberate choice, and not an unfortunate circumstance, and so most judges are going to be very unwilling to significantly lower or even end spousal support obligations. Some courts will even impute income based on how much the payer could realistically earn had they still been employed. This means that those receiving payments should not be overly worried if their ex quits their job, and that those paying spousal support should strongly reconsider quitting their job in an attempt to avoid spousal support.  

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