Do Child Support Laws Cover Increased Payments Due To Ex’s Unemployment?

divorce lawyer Tamara HoffstatterQuestion:

What are the child support laws regarding an increase in child support because your ex-wife quits working?

She is filing for a modification of child support to have my payments increased because she quit her full-time job to be a stay-at-home mom of our three children.

This does not seem fair that I would be punished with having to make higher child support payments because of her decision to voluntarily quit her job.


Please note that I am not licensed in your state so I am unable to provide specific financial advice on divorce or legal advice on divorce.

In Michigan (where I practice) as in many other states, child support is figured according to a series of guidelines that take into consideration, among other things, the gross income of each party and the number of overnights that the children will be spending with each party.

When income is looked at, the court will impute a certain income to a party that is not working. I would be curious to know what justification your wife gave for having quit her full time job, and what imputation the court made, if any, regarding her ability to be employed.

It is important to understand, however, that if your wife’s parenting time is significantly greater than yours, then the calculations may be accurate particularly since the child support covers three children.

As a general rule, the parent who does not have primary child custody or who has a smaller number of overnights with the children than their ex, will likely end up paying more child support. It is often this factor that is the cause for what sometimes seems to be unfair child support assessments.

If you need advice on divorce, or wish to take specific action in this matter, you need to contact an attorney immediately for assistance. Cordell & Cordell does represent clients nationwide.

To schedule an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Tamara Hoffstatter, an attorney in the Troy, Michigan, office of Cordell & Cordell, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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