You Deserve Justice

Unemployment and child support obligations: What you should know

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Child Custody & Support |

Losing your job, or even having your hours or workload cut, can be very stressful. If you’re a parent who pays child support to your ex, one of your biggest fears is likely how you’ll be able to keep up with your payments and what will happen if you don’t.

It’s important to know that your access to your child is not dependent on your ability to make these payments. While it’s crucial to deal with that issue correctly, as we’ll discuss, child support and parenting rights are not interdependent. 

Even parents who don’t comply with their child support requirements when they’re able to can’t be penalized by not being able to see their child – either by their ex or a court. Both child support and parenting rights are meant to benefit the child, so withholding one because there’s an issue with the other isn’t allowed.

Getting a temporary modification of your child support obligations

Now, if you know you’re not going to be able to make payments on time and in full while you’re looking for another job, it’s critical that you notify the court and seek a temporary modification of your child support. Working out an arrangement with your ex can backfire on you. Remember that this is a court order, and not being in compliance can put you in legal jeopardy. If your payments are being taken out of your paycheck or other source automatically by a state agency or other entity, you need to notify it as well. 

As noted, a judge will likely allow a temporary modification or pause, but you’ll need to present evidence of your changed employment status (and show that you didn’t just quit your job without another one lined up). They’ll also want to know about your larger financial picture – such as other sources of income (including unemployment benefits) and assets you have. They’ll also want to see evidence that you’re actively seeking comparable employment. 

It’s only normal to be anxious during a time like this, but it may help to know that it happens to a lot of parents. It’s crucial to know your rights and to ensure that the court is fully aware of the situation. Having experienced guidance can help you protect your parenting rights and avoid unnecessary complications.