Thinking of quitting your job out of virus safety concerns? Not so fast if you have court-ordered family obligations. News reports show that some people across the country are quitting their jobs out of safety concerns with the expectation of collecting enhanced unemployment under the Federal CARES act. The CARES act allows unemployment applicants to “self-certify” that they quit a job over coronavirus concerns at work. Furthermore, the act provides an additional $600 per week in benefits in addition to the amount that an applicant normally qualifies to receive from the states. Normally, Florida has the lowest maximum weekly benefit of $275. This amount rises to a maximum of $875 per week with the federal benefit.
Parents with support or alimony obligations may want to seek the advice of an attorney before quitting a job, even if the federal CARES act seems to encourage quitting in light of virus safety concerns. Here’s why: at some point those unemployment benefits will run out. If a parent struggles to get re-employed or re-employed at his/her former wages, then they run the risk of not being able to pay support obligations. Under Florida law, a judge can find that a parent voluntarily reduced his/her income (by quitting) and IMPUTE the former income level to the parent. This means that by quitting a job and failing to regain employment, a parent runs the risk of being denied a modification of a support order, should one be sought. If you have any support obligations, any decision about quitting a job should be undertaken with serious legal advice and consideration. The future consequences of failure to pay a support order could be wage garnishment, increased debt (arrears), or being found in contempt of court, which can result in incarceration.
If you need advice with your particular situation, please call us for a consultation.
Call our office today at 850-818-0236. We also have offices located in Pensacola, Fort Walton, Tallahassee and Orlando for your convenience.