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When parents involuntarily impoverish themselves to evade support

In some California child support cases, one parent will either work for less than what he or she is able to make or under the table in an effort to avoid being responsible for paying child support. Referred to as voluntary impoverishment, this tactic is something that child support enforcement agencies and the courts are aware of and understand how to identify.

If people have oral child support agreements, and the individuals who have agreed to pay state they are no longer working, the first step is for the custodial parents to apply for child support. They can do this by filing motions with the court or going to their local child support agencies. If the people believe that their children's noncustodial parents are voluntarily impoverishing themselves, they should explain it to the court or child support agency.

It may be possible to identify sources of income by looking at the noncustodial parent's bank account records. The child support agency may also look at his or her tax returns. If the agency believes that someone might be underreporting income to the IRS, it may look for any large credit purchases that the person has recently made, such as a vehicle. The agency can then pull the applications for those purchases to see what the parent reported as his or her income.

After the actual income is identified, the agency can establish what the child support payment should be. People may also benefit by getting help from an experienced family lawyer. An attorney may assist with uncovering all of the sources of income to make certain that the parent pays the right child support amount. Courts do not view parents trying to get out of paying child support kindly and take a dim view of those who voluntarily impoverish themselves.

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The Law Offices of Oliver R. Gutierrez
600 Allerton St., Suite 200
Redwood City, CA 94063

Phone: 650-399-0962
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