Advice from someone who has been in your shoes
  Search entire web
Supervised Visitation Directory
Return to list of questions Return to topic groups
Father failed in opposing unemployed mother's request to increase child support - what next?

Your Question:
My ex-wife took me to court for more child support because she is not working. I explained to the judge that she has choosen not to work. My ex had no choice to but to agree. She got a 50% increase, but the judge ordered her to get a job within 60 days (the kids are in school full-time). She didn't within that time period and her deadline was extended. She is not really looking and offering up execuses to the judge why. I feel that she will keep asking for extentions until my youngest is 18. Two questions:

1) How many more extentions can she get (How many years can this go on).

2) Does she have a legal responsibility to help support herself and the kids? (All of her income comes from my child support).


Custody and visitation problems? We can help. can help you win custody, change custody, or reduce child support. Recommended by mediators and therapists and used every day by thousands of parents and families worldwide.

My Answer:

Thanks for writing. I also asked you to clarify in what state you reside, and you said California.

First, as I often do, I'll remind readers that I'm not an attorney.

It's my understanding that barring a physical or mental condition that prohibits a person from working, and/or barring need to care for a child with special needs, every parent in California has an obligation to support his/her children to his/her ability. It is on that foundation that California's child support laws are based.

If a parent refuses to work, the court has the discretion to impute that parent's income at an amount that reflects the parent's earning capacity. It is presumed that a parent could earn at least minimum wage for 40 hours weekly (barring special circumstances noted above).

The court can't force anyone to work. But the court can say, "Look, it's your choice to stay home all day, and you haven't really given me a reason why you can't work. Based upon your education and experience presented in the evidence, I think you can gross $2,000/month, and so that's the number I'm imputing for your income."

I've successfully addressed this issue in my own situation, and I did it representing myself.

You'll have to spend a bit of time putting your case together. If you go back into court with solid points and authorities and with solid evidence, you will prevail. You already allude to one important piece of evidence: mother's admission in court that she's avoiding work. Get the court reporter's transcript (pretty cheap), and you've already got one of the elements needed to have her income imputed.

Good luck.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

© 2005 ~ 2022 All Rights Reserved.