Calculating child support with many job losses

Here is the situation:

  • I have never filed for child support
  • my ex was not working for the last 5 years of our marriage, except for some odd jobs here and there
  • he wasn’t working for the 1st 9 months of our separation, then had a job for a year, then was out of work for 8 months, then had a job for 10 months.
  • during this last job, he paid about half of what the calculator said
  • he is now once again out of work

If he can’t seem to hold down a job, how do I calculate what child support should be? I’ve read that they will impute an income to him if they find that he is avoiding work in order to avoid paying support but I don’t think that is the case. He could find a job to earn at least some income (restaurant, mall, etc) until something opens up in his field but thinks that line of work is beneath him. It is not fair to me to foot the bill 100% when he keeps getting fired. Would they impute some sort of income or require him to pay at least something?

Whether income is imputed will depend on the norms of the jurisdiction in which your case would be heard. In my experience, judges are hesitant to impute income immediately after a party has become unemployed, but they are more likely to impute income if a party is unable to show evidence of seeking employment or the party is unwilling to take any employment (even if “beneath him”) in an attempt to make some earnings to support the child(ren).

If a judge refuses to impute income and puts a minimum order in place (usually $50 per month), you may be able to ask for a review hearing in a few months to check the status of employment and/or ask for imputation of income at that time if no progress has been made.