Alabama residents who are going through a difficult time with their spouse understand that the relationship problems can be heavy. This is also true in divorce because individuals may feel like their work and family life are affected by the divorce process.
Emotions can cause individuals to act in different ways. Some may want to take some time off work or cut back on hours. However, individuals should understand there are consequences to decisions made at work and at home which can affect the divorce proceeding itself, including child support issues that may arise.
For instance, if a person quits their job or cuts back on hours, this decision can have serious consequences for the person. This is because the child support guidelines typically calculate the amount a person must pay not only on the financial needs of the child, but also on the ability of the parent to make payments.
Because child support is dependent on a parent’s ability to pay and not simply on what their income is at a given time, individuals who quit their job voluntarily or cut back on hours may be considered willfully underemployed. Thus, courts can order the person to pay child support based on what they are able to earn, even if that is not necessarily what the person currently earns.
The reasoning behind this is simple: it prevents a spouse from working less to avoid paying more child support. Because these decisions can have serious consequences, individuals should consult with a professional to determine how child support may be calculated in their particular case, whether they are the party seeking child support or the party who may be ordered to pay child support.