I Lost My Job, Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support?
It can be incredibly upsetting to lose a job. After all, many people personally identify with their professional positions and have a lot of friends at work. Plus, there is the stress of facing a period of time without income. If you have lost your job and are unsure when you will be working next, you may be wondering if it is possible to freeze your child support payment responsibilities.
While losing your job does not automatically exempt you from support obligations, it is a valid reason to seek a child support modification in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. To navigate the modification process successfully, consult with a qualified Bucks County family attorney who has been through the modification process with past clients.
Modifications for Changes in Circumstances
There are steps to having child support orders modified. So if you believe you can’t make payments due to losing your job, the first step you should take is to petition the court for a modification of your child support order. Doing this as soon as possible is advised, because the court may not retroactively modify your payments and you do not want to be in a situation where unpaid support is accruing.
A key component to a successful modification is demonstrating a substantial change in circumstances. Unemployment is generally considered a valid reason for a child support modification, but the court will also want to see proof that you’re actively seeking a new position or making some other effort to improve your finances.
How your modification will be handled will depend on the details of your situation. For example, a job loss may result in a temporary reduction in child support payments. Then, once you secure a new position, your child support order may be reinstated based on your new income. When income loss is permanent or long-term, a permanent change to your child support obligation can be pursued.
Considering Other Financial Resources
In Pennsylvania, courts also consider factors beyond a job loss when modifying child support, such as both parents’ incomes, the child’s needs, and other available resources. For instance, for some people a job loss does not mean child support payments are unaffordable. If the parent has significant financial resources, such as savings, investments, and other assets, it may be determined that they can afford to continue making payments during a period of unemployment.
A court’s top concern is ensuring that the child’s needs continue to be met. This may involve adjusting child support payments or having them remain at the level set when a divorce was finalized. A Bucks County family attorney can provide you with legal guidance if you’ve lost your job and are concerned about your child support obligations.
Was your financial situation different when you began making support payments? Whether you have experienced a job loss or an income reduction, there are ways to have support obligations modified when they are unaffordable for the paying parent. Talk through your options with the legal team at Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Call 215-968-6602 to schedule your consultation today.