Recently our area lost a major employer and hundreds of people are left in a financial crisis. One of the many questions that people ask is: “Do I still have to pay child support if I lose my job?” The answer is YES, but you may have a legal remedy to address the major change in your financial situation.
Generally, child support may be reduced due to this change in financial circumstances, but it requires a modification of the child support through a Court Order.
Some important things to keep in mind if you are seeking a reduction in child support:
- You should make a timely request for a modification. Although the Court is going to want to see that you are seeking new employment, they will be unable to reduce the child support or back payments before your request. If you wait six months after you have lost you job to make a request, you can’t expect the Court to go back and reduce the amount owed during those six months.
- To keep track of your timeline, you should keep in mind that many Courts will not be able to address your request until months later.
- The Court will consider your unemployment benefits as income for calculating your new child support obligation. If your benefits run out, then the Court will likely impute your income at minimum wage for 40 hours per week. In Alabama, that calculates to $1,257.00 imputed monthly gross income.
- Be careful if your child support was going through your employer by an Income Withholding Order. I have seen too many hard-working parents who lose a job get themselves in even worse shape if they fail to make the child support payments when the employer income withholding process is no longer in place. Back Pay and interest that could accrue is suffocating to an already stressed financial situation.
To discuss more details regarding your particular situation, call Katie Crow at (334) 737-3733.