If you are fired from your job, you can file a motion with the court asking to reduce your child support payments. Whether the court will reduce your child support depends, in part, on the reason why you were fired. If you were fired for cause or misconduct at your job, then the court may not reduce your child support. I will summarize a recent Virginia case where the court did not reduce the child support amount for a father who was fired from his job through his own negligence.
In Parham v. Parham, Virginia’s Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court ruling that the father was voluntarily underemployed. The father worked as a general manager of a car dealership. He earned $344,786 per year. The owner of the dealership told the father that he was not performing his job. After the father did not improve his performance, he was fired. The father got a job at another car dealership earning $162,000 per year. Because his salary was less, he requested a reduction in child support. The court held that he was fired from his old job because of his misconduct and fault. The court denied the father’s request to reduce child support.
If you are fired for cause, you cannot use your firing as a reason to reduce your child support obligation. The court will impute income to you at the same income level you were earning before your job dismissal. You will continue to pay child support using the amount of income you earned when you were employed at the prior job.
What’s the reasoning? It prevents payors from intentionally getting fired in order to reduce support payments.