Do I Have to Continue Paying Child Support if I Lose My Job?

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.

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