The Biggest Cowards of the Legal System
The rapper Nasir Jones once rhymed, “you a’int a man, you a coward if you can’t support the girl you put a seed in.” As a father of three, I concur fully with Nas’ blunt assessment of the state of modern child support by men in America.
So what does a parent or divorcing spouse do when the other spouse or parent (i.e., baby daddy or baby mama) does not work? How can you get support from him or her when they don’t work? Have no fear! Imputed income is here!
OCGA 19-6-15(f)(4), a subsection of Georgia’s child support statute, provides for the imputation of income where a parent fails to produce reliable evidence of wages. The court is authorized to impute minimum wage at a full-time rate to the spouse who produces no evidence of income.
Therefore, the Court will still order the non-working spouse or parent to pay child support, regardless of whether the parent works. That’s enforceable by a contempt action. Time spent in the common stockades of the Muscogee County jail will, indeed, change one’s mind on the issue of prompt child support payments. The court will often set a purge amount before permitting the non-paying spouse to be released from jail.
The trial court has extremely broad discretion here regarding the imputation of income. For instance, in Larizza v. Larizza, 286 Ga. 461 (Ga. 2010), the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed a trial judge who essentially imputed minimum wage to a disabled father whose only source of income was social security disability, which by law, is not included in the calculation of income. The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s award based on a sparse record and on the great deference it gives to trial courts in making child support awards. To be sure, some courts have held the opposite on the issue of awarding support where the only source of income is disability benefits. However, the point is that if you are able to work, or the court finds you are able to work, you have to support your children!