On September 29, the Court of Special Appeals issued an opinion about child support, focusing on the intersection of voluntary impoverishment (deliberate unemployment or underemployment to avoid paying child support) and immigration status.
In short, in Dillon v. Miller, the Appellate Court decided that the parent could support the child with monetary gifts from family (which the parent testified to receiving), income from working in the US, and income from working in the parent’s home country. The Court pointed to the lack of credible evidence supporting the parent’s argument that returning to the parent’s home country would jeopardize the parent’s immigration status in the US.
On income from work in the US, the Court said:
“To be clear, we are not telling Dillon that he must work illegally to pay child support. Rather, Dillon admitted that he works when he can, even though he claims that he does not have a green card or work authorization. We can, and must, count the salary and wages that he earns from those jobs towards his child support obligations. See Gallagher v. Gallagher, 118 Md. App. 567, 581-82 (1997) (stating that determining alimony based on illegal income does not encourage or require a person to break the law, but merely recognizes an existing reality).”