No one really plans on becoming unemployed. We all have bills to pay, rent or a mortgage to afford, and we all like to have some money to spend on things we enjoy. Parents have a unique responsibility to not only provide for their needs, but those of their children. That’s one of the most important things that any child support order is trying to achieve.
So, what happens if a parent paying child support becomes unemployed? Some would probably hope that this arrangement is put on pause until the parent is making an income again, but this isn’t the case. You may be struggling to make ends meet right now, but your obligations as a parent don’t stop because you’re out of work.
We don’t mean to downplay how stressful and frustrating this situation is. No one should have to go through it, but it happens, and parents are still forced to afford their child support obligations even if they are unemployed.
What Can I Do If I’m Unemployed & Can’t Pay My Child Support?
Whether or not you are employed, your child support obligations will continue. That means that whatever you were paying before you became unemployed is what you will continue to owe.
If you can no longer afford the child support order, you can request a temporary modification by petitioning the court. If you are successful, you can obtain a temporary child support order that reduces the amount of money you owe on new payments. This process does not automatically begin when you start collecting unemployment. It’s your responsibility to initiate a petition to the court to request a child support modification.
It’s also not guaranteed, which means that despite your petition, a judge can leave the existing child support order in place. If you can’t afford these payments, enforcement of the child support order can mean garnishment from your unemployment checks and future income, garnishment of state and federal tax refunds, a lien against your property, and other such actions.
Can I Get Rid of Child Support Debt through Bankruptcy?
No. Unpaid child support is a debt that will follow you until it’s paid, even after the order expires and no new payments are required.
Do You Need Help with Your Child Support Order?
If you are a parent who has fallen on hard times and lost your job, don’t wait to get the legal representation you need. We at Malinowski Hubbard, PLLC can help any parent struggling to afford child support seek a modification to their existing order that realistically aligns with their financial situation.