If you work and receive child support payments at the same time, you may have thought about quitting your job to focus on taking care of your child. This situation happens very often when the child has become disabled or has a serious medical condition that requires a higher level of care than it did when the original child support order was established.

This is the question our Salt Lake City child support attorney at The Ault Firm has recently received. “Hello, I’m trying to make sense of my current predicament regarding child support. I had a job when the divorce decree was final, and now I want to voluntarily quit my job to take care of my disabled child. But does it mean that my ex’s child support will increase since it was originally calculated based on his and my income? Put another way, will child support go up if the child becomes disabled and requires a higher level of care and the custodial parent is no longer able to work as a result? Thanks in advance. Best regards, Stacey.”

When voluntarily quitting your job is ‘self-impoverishing’

Thank you for your question, Stacey. First and foremost, your situation sounds a lot like you could be entitled to increase the amount of child support payments, because your situation may qualify as a “substantial change in circumstances” (a child becoming disabled and requiring a higher level of care from the custodial parent).

However, here’s why you might be entering a risky territory. Voluntarily quitting your job could be classified as “self-impoverishing” or “voluntarily impoverishing” yourself, which, if established by court, would bar you from seeking an increase in child support.

For this reason, it is highly advised that you consult with an experienced child support attorney in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah before voluntarily quitting your job. You would not want to regret your decision when it is too late to get your job back.

Will child support go up if you voluntarily quit your job?

Under Utah law, if the costs of child care are equal to or exceed the amount of your current income, then it might make sense to voluntarily quit your job and provide the child with your personal care. In this situation, Utah family courts would typically agree that you, as a custodial parent, are not required to work to pay a third party or child care provider when it is cheaper and in the child’s best interests when the child care is provided by you.

Also, your decision to voluntarily quit your job will be justified by courts if you can prove that the child’s unusual emotional or physical needs require you, as a custodial parent, to be present at home or provide child care 24/7. In both situations, there is a high chance that you could modify the existing child support agreement and have the other parent’s child support obligation go up to compensate for your voluntary loss of income.

Quitting your job as a custodial and non-custodial parent is equally risky, as the court might consider your voluntary loss of employment as “self-impoverishment” for the purpose of not paying child support or, vice versa, receiving a higher amount of child support payments. Whatever is the case, schedule a consultation from our Salt Lake City child support attorney from The Ault Firm. Call at 801-539-9000 to speak about your case.