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What can be done about child support if a parent has lost a job?

| Jun 2, 2021 | Family Law |

Job loss is a common worry for Texans regardless of their income, education and position in society. It can happen to anyone without warning. While there are fundamental issues that accompany losing a job such as paying for a place to live and purchasing necessities, those who have been ordered to pay child support will undoubtedly be worried about ensuring their child’s needs are met and what potential sanctions they might face if they are unable to make the payments in the amount they are supposed to. This is not an ideal situation, but there are steps that the supporting parent can take to address it.

What to do about child support after job loss

It is important that a supporting parent understand the procedure to address job loss in the context of child support. First, the Office of the Attorney General and the court must be informed of what has occurred. Still, this is not enough to change the payments, even for a defined time-period. To change the amount that is to be paid, there must be a new support order. There are basic requirements to change a support order. That includes a major circumstantial change.

Other justifications to change a support order are if a minimum of three years have passed since the order was put into effect or changed or if there is a 20% or $100 difference between the state child support guidelines and the person’s income. Unemployment is a different matter. Requesting a modification due to job loss will require the supporting parent prove that he or she is actively seeking a job or is taking part in a training program to gain the skills necessary to get a job.

Simply not paying what is owed is a mistake

Parents who have lost their job might be under the impression that this simple fact will warrant missed or reduced child support payments and there will not be any penalties for it. That is a mistake that can compound the person’s problems. The court is unlikely to simply dismiss past-due payments for any reason, therefore there can be consequences.

After job loss or other challenges, it is imperative to adhere to the basics of family law. For parents who are on relatively good terms, it might be negotiable. If the relationship is more complicated, it may be more difficult. The current economy has led to people losing their jobs and having reduced income for various reasons. That does not eliminate the need to provide for a child. To deal with child support from the perspective of the custodial or noncustodial parent, having professional assistance can be crucial to achieve a reasonable outcome.