It's not uncommon. It has happened and is not always necessarily common as it's a very fact specific case. But in the situations you described if there was a voluntary action on the part of one spouse to try to become gainfully, what I would consider gainfully unemployed, such as to avoid paying child support, then the judges would not look favorably upon this and they would take this into account. It is likely that they would look at an average of all the higher earning years that he had previously and they would instruct him to try to find employment again as soon as he could.
Sean Sullivan is a family lawyer practicing in the Elmhurst, Illinois area at the law offices of Laura M Urbik Kern, specializing in child custody and dissolution in divorce. Visit his website, www.laurakern.com, and Divorce Magazine profile.