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What should I know about child support if I lose my job?

Losing your job is often a difficult thing to experience. When you learn of the news, you might start thinking about how you can minimize your bills until you find another job and get that steady income back. There is one expense that you aren’t necessarily going to be able to change — child support. It might shock you to learn that losing your job won’t automatically change your child support obligations; however, it is possible for you to take action to get the support lowered if the circumstances make that necessary.

What happens to my child support obligation after a job loss?

Even if you lost your job, you would still be required to meet your child support obligation. If you don’t pay the required child support, you would still owe the unpaid arrears. These obligations can’t be done away with by filing for bankruptcy.

What can I do to stop or change the obligation?

You can file for a child support modification if your financial situation makes it impossible to pay child support as ordered by the court. It is crucial that you file for the modification right away because past due child support obligations usually can’t be done away with retroactively.

How can I have the order modified?

You can opt to have the court set the new obligation amount or you can try to come to an agreement with the child’s other parent. In both cases, you will have to have a judge approve the child support modification in order for it to be a legal order. Understanding how these methods work can help you decide which avenue you should pursue.

Source: FindLaw, “How Job Loss Can Affect Child Support,” Aditi Mukherji, accessed April 21, 2016

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