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Mom Asks Judge For More Child Support Money Because She's Not Working — Despite Her Ex Providing Tons Of Job Opportunities

Photo: Pixelshot / CanvaPro
Judge sitting down with a man looking at papers.

For many single parents, child support is an essential part of caring for their children. With one in five children living in a household receiving child support, it’s become increasingly important for legal systems to fairly and equitably allocate funds. 

While it varies from state to state, child support amounts are typically based on a variety of different financial markers including, but not limited to, a parent’s income, their ability to earn an income, the amount of time they spend with the child, and the overall size of their family.

Things can get complicated when a parent suddenly loses their job, however. In the case of this family, the real question is: What happens when a parent loses their job and they’re not actively looking for a new one? 

A mom requested more child support from a judge because she’s not working — despite her ex providing several job openings. 

In a video from January 28, @meverick0648 on TikTok shared the recording of a child support hearing where the mom was not only out of work but seemingly unwilling to change that fact. She was requesting the child support payments be increased despite her ability to work not having changed.

   

   

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At the beginning of the hearing, the mother explained her recent loss of employment. She told the judge that she’s been actively struggling to find another job and requested an increase in child support to help care for their two young daughters. 

“I’m asking for an adjustment in the child support amount, due to the changes in income,” she said to the judge. “I’ve been looking for a job all summer… there’s no jobs available in my expertise or certification within a hundred miles.” 

Instead of pivoting her career to find a job, the woman explained she’s attempting to return to school to acquire a certification that might help her in her search.

She asked the judge to increase the amount her ex pays in child support since she’s unemployed and his income has grown. 

Her ex, the man shown in the court video, reminded the judge that he disclosed his increase in income to the court. However, he argued that despite his pay increase, he didn't believe his ex was "eager” to find another job. 

Typically, state courts handle unemployment in child support cases in one of two ways: whether the parent is involuntarily or voluntarily unemployed. Voluntary unemployment is when a parent willingly leaves their job or is fired on the basis of “illegal” activity, in which case the court is not held to increase child support.

   

   

However, involuntary unemployment is categorized as being fired or laid off from a job without fault, in which case the court may reconsider increasing child support to support. 

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One very clear and important aspect of “involuntary” employment is undeniable proof that the parent is searching for or in the process of obtaining another job. That would determine whether the additional financial support would be temporary until their new income could be fairly accounted for. 

Her ex made a valid case against her and argued that she was not actively looking for another job, and instead was planning to support herself and her child using the proposed increase in child support funds. 

   

   

“During the summer, I did forward her job opportunities. I think she applied for some. I also encouraged her to be a substitute teacher where she could work every day… she chose not to pursue that option,” the ex explained to the judge. 

“I do make more than I did three years ago… it’s not a whole lot, but it is a little bit,” he admitted. “However, I believe she needs to get some kind of a job. She doesn’t seem eager to pursue anything in terms of work. Asking me for more money solely based on the fact that she’s not working is not fair and equitable.”

Ultimately, the judge refused to increase child support to support the loss of her job and advised her to ‘get any job’ before disputing again. 

“If you got a different job, we’d take into consideration what that job is. If it was lower paying,” the judge explained. “If you aren’t currently working, we don’t have another job to consider for payment. I’m not really inclined to change the income until we know what your next job will pay — whether it be more or less.” 

Obviously, this is only a glimpse at the intricate details of this particular case, and it's likely the judge has additional information to determine the mom's eligibility to work and her ability to find a job that would pay the same or close to what she was earning prior to getting laid off.

   

   

When it comes to child support, the entire process is complicated, but ultimately, what's most important is for the court to see that the parents are honest and willing to contribute to the best of their abilities. This woman's ex was honest about his increase in pay and he was consistent in his payments. Both of those factors worked in his favor.

Mom, however, did not offer sufficient proof that she was unable to find work of any kind and that ultimately worked against her.

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.