Trying To Avoid Paying Support Can Lead To Family Court

At the Law Office of Dawn M. Green, in Annapolis, Maryland, we represent clients on both sides of a voluntary impoverishment case. These are complex, often emotional cases that affect clients in their most personal of matters: money, parenting, work and relationships.

If you wish to talk to an attorney about your situation, we invite you to call us at 410-280-2696 to schedule a consultation.

What Is Voluntary Impoverishment?

When a parent or former spouse stops working in order to avoid paying child support or spousal support due to lack of income, he or she may be considered to be voluntarily impoverished. Voluntary impoverishment includes:

  • Voluntarily quitting a job
  • Refusing to seek employment
  • Significant underemployment
  • Hiding financial assets
  • Hiding income earned from self-employment

Voluntary impoverishment is more common than many people think. If the court determines that an individual has voluntarily impoverished him or herself — by quitting a job or drastically reducing hours, for example — the court will impute an income based on prior earnings, ability to work and other related factors, and the individual will still be responsible for paying support.

Voluntary Impoverishment Cannot Stop Child Support

The law is clear that a noncustodial parent ordered to pay child support is responsible to make payments according to the Maryland child support guidelines. Unfortunately, many noncustodial parents think of child support as supporting the other parents' household, not specifically supporting the child; Maryland does not obligate the custodial parent to provide an accounting as to how the child support is spent.

Quitting a job or refusing to accept employment can be argued to the court as voluntary impoverishment. The court has the capacity to impute additional income to the person obliged to pay support. This means that the court can determine the parties' earning capability and calculate child support using an imputed income.

Alimony Is An Obligation, Not An Option

An order to pay spousal support, often called alimony, is also a legal obligation. Voluntary impoverishment can result in having income imputed. Deliberately ignoring a court order to pay spousal support can result in a finding of contempt of court and ultimately incarceration and an establishment of arrears.

Questions? Please Contact Us to Learn How We Can Help.

Attorney Dawn Green provides aggressive representation in child support and alimony cases involving voluntary impoverishment/underemployment. She understands how emotional and contentious support obligations can become for both sides of the issue. She is responsive to your needs and compassionate about your situation, no matter what side of the issue you are on.

Complete our online contact form, or call our Annapolis office at 410-280-2696 to schedule a consultation with attorney Dawn Green about your voluntary underemployment case.