Milwaukee Child Support Professionals

When your livelihood, and the livelihood of your family, depends upon child support, you need the professionals


Child Support: Don't Shirk Your Responsibility

Child support is an exremely  important  responsibility.  Children depend upon their parents-- both of their parents-- for food, shelter, clothing, and education.  A child support order is not a punishment imposed by the court on the parent who does not have primary placment.   A  child support order does not prove that the parent with placement has "won".


Some individuals, though, believe that if they must pay a significant percentage of their earnings in child support, there is no point in working.   Thus, the individual quits his or her job with the intent of avoiding child support.


This is an extremely unwise strategy.  Firstly, the persons who are hurt most by such a decision is the children.  Secondly, it probably won't work.  An experienced family law attorney has many tools as his disposal to address the situation.


If the court is persuaded that a parent who has been ordered to pay child support has deliberately shirked his or her responsibility to pay child support, the court may order support based upon the parent's last-know income, or upon the parent's earning capacity.  Without a job, massive child support arrearages will build up very quickly-- and the government has become very aggressive is persuing those with child support arrearages.  The non-paying parent may face contempt of court charges, one's tax returns will be intercepted, one's driver's license may be revoked, and criminal charges are a possibility.


Ordinarily, a court will base a child support award primarily on the amount of income a noncustodial parent is earning at the time the award is made. If the court determines that the noncustodial parent has "shirked" his or her support responsibilities, however, the court may look beyond actual earnings and consider that parent's capacity to earn. It is well established that shirking does not require a finding that the noncustodial parent "deliberately reduced his earnings to avoid support obligations. Rather, shirking can be established in one of two ways: (1) by proving that a parent reduced his or her income to intentionally avoid a duty of support, or (2) by proving that a parent's reduction in income was both voluntary and unreasonable under the circumstances.


Thus, a parent cannot avoid a finding of shirking by simply becoming a poor employee, thereby prompting his employer to fire him.  If the court finds that the loss of employment was unreasonable-- even though there is no evidence that the parent intended to avoid a child support obligation-- the court may make a finding of shirking.