Changing Jobs Does not Always Mean a Lower Child Support Order

In re: Marriage of Padilla is a seminal case involving a parent’s right to change jobs after a divorce and a corresponding decrease in child support.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND OF THE REQUEST FOR ORDER FOR MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT

The parties were divorced and had a child support order. The mother requested an increase in child support after the guidelines for child support were modified. The father agreed to the increase until he decided to quit his job and start a new business venture. When he started his business venture, he requested that the court decrease his child support obligation.

FAMILY COURT’S IMPUTATION OF INCOME

The trial court disagreed with dad’s request. Although it could not prohibit the father from quitting his job and starting a new business venture, it could impute income to the father and order child support based upon the imputed income. The family court found that the father changed jobs in order to start a new business venture and not because he wanted to shirk his responsibilities as a parent. It also found that he was capable of earning more money and imputed income based upon his previous job. The father appealed the order.

APPEAL OF THE REINSTATEMENT ORDER

The court of appeals upheld the order. It stated that it is not necessary to prove bad faith any time a parent reduces his or her income. The parent’s motivation for reducing income is irrelevant for the purposes of child support. The only requirements are that the parent has the ability and opportunity to adequately and reasonably provide for the child. The court does not have the ability to require someone to work at a particular job, but it can impute income to that person consistent with the job the person can do.

DO YOU NEED HELP WITH ISSUES RELATED TO CHILD SUPPORT?

If you need legal advice and are looking for a family law lawyer in Orange County to address a dissolution issue such as child support or any other divorce matter such as legal separation, annulment, custody, spousal support and/or property division, please consider our law office in your divorce attorney search. We are located in Laguna Hills right off Lake Forest exit to both the 405 and 5 freeway.

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Treviño Law, Inc.
23151 Moulton Parkway
Laguna Hills, California
Phone (949) 716-2102
Visit us at
www.LawintheOC.com

Although the posting of this information can be considered free legal advice for a divorce in Orange County, it does not guarantee that there are other facts which may play a significant part in a dissolution. Circumstances in a divorce case may alter the required action and analysis taken by a family law attorney in California.

Please note that this legal advice does not establish a family law attorney-client relationship. This is a legal advertisement for Treviño Law, Inc.
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