December 23, 2019 Child Support

Proving Voluntary Impoverishment in Child Support Cases

By: Lana K. Hawkins

A parent cannot avoid child support obligations simply because the parent is unemployed or underemployed.  In many jurisdictions, this frequently recurring phenomenon encountered in cases where the amount of child support is in issue is referred to as “impoverishment”.[1]  All too often, a parent’s income decreases prior to trial or after judgment, which gives rise to a modification petition by that parent because of a “material change in circumstances”.   To be sure, there can be factors that cause a person to be “involuntarily” impoverished.  The most common of these are loss of employment without cause, unexpected illness or disability, adverse economic conditions in a particular industry and an array of other unavoidable occurrences.

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