What happens when a stay-at-home mom does not have any income? I'm going to discuss with you a little bit about what happens when a stay-at-home parent does not have income and you're involved in a custody case involving a request for child support, and how will the court deal with that situation
One of the things that our law sets out in a child support case is that if one of the parents is a stay-at-home parent and has a child in their primary care, or children in their primary care, can the court impute income to that parent for purposes of calculating child support? In Colorado, our law says that when a primary parent, that means a parent who has the majority of the parenting time, and has been a parent that has provided for the greater amount of care, custody, and control of children, is a stay-home-parent usually, at what point can the court say, “Well, I'm going to use some income standard for you in calculating child support”?
The answer to that is that until the youngest child is 30 months of age or older, the court is not permitted to impute income. What I typically see in my practice is that experienced judges are going to impute income equivalent to Florida's minimum wage, after the youngest child turns 30 months of age. What does that mean? It means that even if the primary residential parent with the majority of parenting time, who's been the stay-at-home parent, doesn't have a job, the court still may impute minimum wage to that parent for the purposes of calculating child support. The court is not permitted and has no authority to order any parent to take another job, leave a job, or go get a job.
The critical factor is at what point will the court impute income to that parent for purposes of calculating child support, and you should always consult with an experienced lawyer who can explain this to you, and so that you can map out a successful strategy to deal with a child support issue or modification of child support in the future.