“My Ex Works For Cash To Avoid Child Support: What Can Be Done?”

When someone works a cash job and claims no income, it can present two distinct problems related to child support: how do you get support ordered in the first place, and how do you get paid once it is ordered?
As to the first issue, there are really two ways to go about getting support ordered. Neither is perfect, but they are useful and really the only tools at your disposal.

First, you can use the expenses of the other party to show income. Essentially, you do disco very (written questions or a deposition) and find out what the other party’s monthly expenses are. This will show the judge that although the other party is claiming no income, they have to live somehow—they are getting money from somewhere. You may have to request things like cell phone bills, utility bills, cable bills, car payment statements, etc., to put the whole picture together.

Second, you can ask the judge to do what is called “imputing income.” This essentially means a finding that the other party could work and could make a certain amount of money, but is not in fact working by their own choice. You will need to prove that they have an opportunity to work and how much they would make if they chose to work.

Some good tools to use in either of these cases is to subpoena anything that is an application for credit where income must be stated. These are often things like applications to purchase a car, or to rent an apartment or a house—people will often be forced to be honest on these applications in order to obtain the credit or the place to live. You can also subpoena the employer of your ex either to a trial or a deposition. Often an employer will be honest about the income because they do not want to perjure themselves or be in the middle of a court case.
Collection, on the other hand, is a bit harder. You can do a levy on a bank account or a wage garnishment, but what if the other person doesn’t really use a bank account and doesn’t have traditional wages to be garnished? In those cases, I strongly recommend opening a case with the Department of Child Support Services, who have a larger range of penalties available. They can do things such as intercept tax refunds (which people often get as earned income tax credits, etc., when they aren’t showing much income on paper) and suspend or revoke a driver’s license for non-payment of support.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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