Can I Quit My Job To Avoid Paying Child Support In Canada?
Children have a right to support and the financial contributions of both parents’ incomes after divorce or separation, and parents have an obligation to maintain employment that enables them to provide these benefits. The Canada Federal Child Support Guidelines are used in Ontario family law matters to determine a fair amount, calculating it based upon gross annual income. Therefore, it would seem that reducing your income would also lower your child support obligation. Taking the issue a step further, some parents even assume that quitting their jobs would eliminate the duty to pay child support.
This is most definitely not the case. Though the laws do allow modifications with changes in the parents’ financial circumstances, quitting your job to avoid child support can lead to unintended consequences. A Mississauga child support lawyer can advise you on details and discuss other options for addressing your obligations. A summary of the legal concepts is also useful.
How Changes in Income Impact Child Support
The foundation of the child support guidelines is your gross annual income, so it does stand to reason that fluctuations would impact your obligation. The focus is on the paying parent’s income from the previous year, but your financial means are different if you no longer have a job or are being paid less months later. The payor cannot unilaterally change or terminate child support payments, so it is necessary to go through the modification process.
Imputing Income Under Child Support Laws
When you no longer have a job or are being paid less through your own decisions, modification may not be an option. To qualify for a reduction, you cannot be voluntarily, intentionally unemployed or under employed. Instead, the court will “impute” income to you, i.e., credit you as earning a gross annual income even if you were not employed. Factors that are used to calculate the amount include:
- Physical and mental health;
- Education, training, and job skills;
- Work history;
- Freedom to relocate for work; and
Steps to Take if You Quit Your Job
Many people terminate employment for legitimate reasons, and you may have success with reducing child support if you can prove that you were not trying to evade your responsibilities. Make sure to document the specifics on why you quit, and request your employment records. You should also start looking for new opportunities right away, tracking your job-seeking efforts, applications submitted, and interviews. This information will be useful if you petition to modify child support OR if you are brought into court by the recipient parent for nonpayment.
Our Mississauga, ON Child Support Lawyers Will Explain the Laws
If you would like additional information on reducing child support and how the laws affect a change in employment, please contact Zagazeta Garcia Lawyers LLP. Individuals in Mississauga, Brampton and the Peel Region can call 905-232-0398 or go online to set up a no-cost consultation with a member of our team. Once we review your situation, we can consider modifications and other alternatives for meeting child support obligations.