In Florida and elsewhere, child support law uses the income of parents to determine how much they should pay. To manipulate this system and avoid paying child support, some people voluntarily impoverish themselves. Voluntary impoverishment involves avoiding work or lying on tax returns about income. A person might also purposefully be underemployed instead of taking advantage of available full-time positions.

When a custodial parent suspects that the other parent could find a better job or is actually hiding income, the first step is to obtain a formal child support order from a court. The court order will enable enforcement actions. Once in possession of the child support order, a custodial parent could inform the Office of Child Support Enforcement about the person’s delinquency.

The enforcement office will demand financial records and an employment history from the nonpaying parent. If the person appears to be avoiding work, then the office will analyze the person’s previous work history, education and training. This information will reveal what the person could earn, and the office will base the child support payments on that potential for income. The government officials have the ability to explore recent credit applications and purchases made by the person to see if they reveal unreported income made from under-the-table work.

A person who wants guidance during the process of reporting a nonpaying parent may wish to ask a child support attorney for help. An attorney may prepare a petition to establish a court order if one does not already exist. Once that is in place, the attorney might alert the enforcement agency about the case and supply as much information as possible to demonstrate the person’s ability to pay.