STBX and I have notarized custody & CS agreement (which I realize doesn’t mean squat until I file, right?) and he has been paying me weekly. But two weeks ago, he quit his job and hasn’t found another (that I’m aware of). He may be working under the table, I don’t know, and I don’t know how to find out. Since he is unemployed, he can’t pay…is his obligation legally $0? Would he have to make up for it once he does get a job? Do I have to file with the courts in order for the agreement to be valid? Or can I go through the local child support office? I really can’t afford the filing fees right now but I want to make sure my son in protected.
If he is paying pursuant to an unincorporated agreement, if he doesn’t pay, you could file for breach of contract to enforce the amount agreed upon. You also have the option of filing an action for child support on your own or going through the CSE. Even with a new action, the court must first look to the agreed amount and the court must apply a rebuttable presumption that the amount set forth is just and reasonable and therefore application of the guidelines would be inappropriate.
If the court uses the guidelines, the minimum obligation that could be ordered is $50 per month. If he is unemployed or underemployed, you can make an argument that income should be imputed to him. If the court finds that a parent’s voluntary unemployment or underemployment is the result of the parent’s bad faith or deliberate suppression of income to avoid or minimize his or her child support obligation, child support may be calculated based on the parent’s potential, rather than actual, income.