You’ve been ordered to pay child support based on your income. That income is based on your continued employment. So what happens when you lose your job? Your child support payments don’t disappear. Even if you can’t pay your child support, ignoring it is one of the worst things you can do. Your payments will fall into arrears and you will very likely face arrest.
If you become unemployed and can’t keep up with your child support payments, the first thing you should do is consult your attorney. You may be able to have your support payments or schedule modified. The sooner you contact your attorney the better.
Temporary or Permanent Modification
If you and your ex-spouse can agree on modifying the terms of your child support order, you can put that agreement in writing and present it to a judge. On the other hand, if you can’t agree on a modification, the judge will make the order after holding a hearing and listening to your evidence and proposed modification.
When a judge grants a modification of your child support, it may be either temporary or permanent. For example, if you cannot pay your child support because you’ve lost your job, the modification will most likely be temporary. A judge will reasonably expect that you will return to work in the future and once again be able to make your ordered payments.
Whether you are seeking a temporary or permanent modification, you must have a significant amount of evidence to prove your case. A judge will want to know why you’ve lost employment, what you’ve done to gain new employment and how much less you are currently making.
Modifications May Not Be Ordered
Just because you’ve lost your job doesn’t mean that a judge will modify your payments. This is because child support payments can be collected from different sources, including unemployment. Do not stop making payments with the assumption that your support payments will be modified.
If you decide to ask to have your payments modified, you must do so in the court that issued the child support in the first place. Your modification papers will also be served to your ex-spouse, and a hearing will take place.
Losing a job can be stressful for more reasons than one. If you have lost your job and are truly unable to make your child support payments, contact your attorney immediately. The sooner you act, the more likely a court of law will look upon your case favorably.
If you need assistance with modifying child support or other family law matters in Orlando, please reach out to our team. We are here to assist you. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation.