If I Lose My Job, Can I Pay Less Child Support?

If I Lose My Job, Can I Pay Less Child Support?If you have a child that you share with an ex-spouse, there is a high chance that you may be paying child support. However, every so often, people who are paying child support often worry about losing their jobs or having their hours cut as this is a strong possibility in any type of industry. As a result, you may be curious to know if you can pay less child support if you are laid off or lose your job.

What is child support?

Child support is a form of payment that goes to the parent who has more custody or spends more hours with the child. If you pay child support, you are financially supporting your child and ensuring that your child has everything they need to thrive. Both parents may make an agreement about how much child support will be paid. However, it is not unusual for parents to have a difficult time agreeing on this. Therefore, a Judge will step in and make a decision for them regarding payments. Some of the factors that are taken into consideration when making this decision are:

  • Both parents’ salaries or incomes
  • The amount of time each parent spends with the child
  • If you are paying support for another child
  • Child-related expenses (tuition, day care, summer camps, extra-curricular activities, health insurance coverage)

If I lose my job, can I pay less child support?

If you are close to losing your job or have heard comments made at work about a big layoff on the way, you may be wondering how this will affect your child support. The good news is that there is a possibility that your payments will decrease if you lose your job. All you have to do is speak to a New Orleans family law attorney and explain your situation regarding your job. They will put in a request to the Judge, asking to modify the current child custody order.

However, you will likely need to prove that you have lost your job and cannot pay the full amount requested in the current child custody order. You will need to work with your lawyer to collect as much evidence as possible showing that you lost your job and that this is a financial and life change since the previous court order went into effect.

You must keep in mind that just because you lost your job, this does not mean that the Judge will automatically understand and modify the child custody court order. They may instead take the money from your severance pay or even your unemployment checks. Therefore, it may be wise to inform your child’s other parent about your current situation, let them know that you may be losing your job, and explain that you may be unable to give the full amount of child support payments. Sometimes, communication can go a long way, and the other parent may approve and agree to the child support order modification.

What if a person intentionally loses their job or has their hours shortened to avoid paying child support?

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for individuals to intentionally get fired or ask to have their hours reduced to avoid paying child support. The Judge is fully aware of this situation and will keep their eyes open for any signs or evidence pointing to this. Therefore, if the Judge finds any proof that you are avoiding child support, you will likely be ordered to still make the payments even if you are not working the same number of hours or at all.

If you can prove that you lost your job or that your number of hours were cut and you genuinely cannot pay the same amount of child support payments required in the court order, the Judge may work with you to find a solution that satisfies you and your child’s other parent. However, if you are caught intentionally avoiding work, the Judge may increase your child support payments as a form of punishment.

Factors that the Judge will look at when deciding if a modification is necessary

There are several different factors that the Judge will look at and assess before deciding whether to modify your current child support order or not. Some of the factors that they will take into account include:

  • How long have you been out of work before asking to modify the child support order?
  • Did you receive a severance package or payment from your job before you were laid off or let go?
  • Why were you laid off or fired?
  • Are you getting unemployment benefits?
  • Why were your hours at work reduced?
  • Are you looking for other work or a way to replace your income?
  • Are you able to get and keep a job?

Many individuals without children have the opportunity to quit their jobs anytime they want, but those who have children cannot decide to just quit without having another job or income replacement lined up. This is because you must put your child’s needs first, which means that your child support order will likely not be modified if you simply quit because you want to. In addition, you cannot get fired for any ordinary reason, such as too many absences, doing something criminal-like, or simply because you were not doing your job. You must be able to show that it was not your fault that you were fired or let go in order for the court to consider modifying your order.

At The Law Office of James A. Graham, we believe in assisting our clients who are struggling to make their child support payments. If necessary, our team will work tirelessly to help you obtain a child support modification until you become employed again. We understand that this decision is difficult to make, which is why we will remain by your side, helping you through this challenging time in your life. Schedule your case evaluation at our New Orleans or Slidell office today. We look forward to meeting you soon and helping you protect your rights.