Intentional Underemployment to Avoid or Reduce New Jersey Child Support Obligation
Intentionally avoiding child support payments is a serious issue that affects thousands of parents and their children across the United States. In some cases, an absent parent will choose to intentionally fail to maintain full employment in order to reduce his or her income. This strategy is employed to attempt to lower child support payments. In this article, we review some key facts and factors associated with intentional underemployment to avoid or reduce New Jersey child support obligation.Intentional Underemployment to Reduce New Jersey Child Support Obligation Rather Commonplace
Though it is difficult to track how many instances of intentional underemployment are actually occurring in New Jersey and elsewhere, experts believe it happens far more often than many people realize. Aside from simply reducing their hours or wages at a current job, some people may also choose not to look for better paying employment opportunities, thereby keeping their income artificially low. Additionally, someone may choose to work “under the table” or find other means of earning money that they can attempt to avoid reporting for the purposes of child support.Impact of Efforts to Intentionally and Improperly Reduce New Jersey Child Support Obligation.
In addition to its direct effects on child support payments, intentional underemployment to avoid or reduce a child support obligation can have long-lasting impacts on children and families. Not only does it cause financial hardship for a custodial parent, it can also deprive children of important resources otherwise available through court-ordered child support payments. Furthermore, if an absent parent chooses not to seek higher paying employment or takes on jobs unrelated to their career field, they could end up losing valuable skills and experience that would otherwise make them more competitive in future job searches.Psychological Repercussions of Underemployment to Reduce New Jersey Child Support Obligation
The implications of intentional underemployment reach beyond just affecting someone’s finances. Experts in the arena of the impact of divorce on children maintain that it can also have psychological repercussions as well. A recent study found that when one parent avoids providing financial support for his or her children through intentional underemployment, it can create feelings of abandonment and resentment which carry over into adulthood. In some cases this resentment can manifest itself in unhealthy behaviors such as drug abuse or even criminal activity later on in life, according to these experts.Addressing the Issue of Intentional Underemployment
New Jersey courts and child support enforcement personnel will use various tactics to address situations in which a child support obligor attempts to avoid his or her legal obligation to provide lawful financial support to a child or children. For example, courts and enforcement personnel can use tactics that include wage garnishment and tax intercepts when necessary in order enforce payment obligations.
If possible underemployment to avoid or reduce an existing child support obligation is brought to the attention of the court, a judge might order that a hearing be held to consider evidence to identify the perpetration of this type of misfeasance by a parent. The custodial parent will have the opportunity to present evidence in support of the contention that the noncustodial parent intentionally is underemployed. Conversely, the noncustodial parent will have an opportunity to present evidence that he or she is not intentionally underemployed but legitimate reasons exist that support the level of employment that individual currently maintains.
Bear in mind that if state child support enforcement officials are involved in the process, they can also participate in judicial proceedings regarding an allegation of intentional underemployment. Indeed, these officials typically are able to amass important evidence in regard to the matter of underemployment to avoid or reduce an existing child support obligation.Legitimate Issue with Employment Limitations
Finally, if a parent with a child support obligation has legitimate reasons for sustaining less than full employment, that situation can be brought to the court. For example, if a child support obligor has a bona fide health issue that prevents full employment, that can form a legitimate basis in some cases to permit an alteration (at least for the time being) of an existing child support obligation. If you have a child support case, call (201) 845-7400 for free consultation.