Loss of income for a parent paying child support is not unusual. It happens,
but the important question that lingers is whether child support goes
down. The answer is yes, child support generally is reduced but it requires
a motion for modification of child support. Although you may hope that
you are not out of work for a long time, planning for an extended period
of time during which you may be unemployed is key. If you do lose your
job, you must file the Motion to Modify Child Support right away upon
a loss of income, since the process can take months.
Loss of Employment
Loss of employment is a significant change justifying a modification of
child support. If you are paying child support, you must take steps to
immediately modify your child support obligation as soon as you lose your
job. A change in child support requires a substantial change in circumstances.
File the Motion to Modify Child Support Immediately
Immediate filing is important since the modification of child support goes
back only to the date of filing, not to the date of loss of your job.
It may be very optimistic to think that you are not going to be out of
work for too long and wait to file the motion, but a delay may be very
costly—especially if you are out of work for an extended period
of time. If you delay and finally file a motion to modify after having
been out of work for four months, you still owe the child support payments
for those four months of having no income. This means that even though
you cannot possibly pay at the time of the loss of income, you owe back support.
Unemployment Benefits Count as Income for Child Support Purposes
Unemployment benefits or any other income are considered income in the
motion for modification of child support. During your unemployment, the
court may consider an income as any benefits you are receiving, such as
unemployment benefits, and use that amount to calculate your child support
obligation under your new circumstances. If you do not have any unemployment
benefits or other income of any kind, the court may suspend your child
support obligation on a temporary basis
Child support can become a headache if you lose your job. Contact me, the
Westlake Village divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff today, to get help as soon as possible!
Call me at (805) 633-4999 for a free initial consultation.