I Lost My Job. What If I Can not Provide Child Support?
If you recently lost your job and can’t provide child support, you are not alone. Many child support issues are usually the result of parents being unable to make payments because of specific circumstances that they cannot possibly control, which normally include job loss, an injury or health problem, or not having enough money to afford the financial load monthly. Unfortunately, your legal responsibility to provide child support does not go away just because you lost your job.
If job loss is preventing you from making your monthly child support payments, it might be tempting to tell your co-parent about your situation and try to come up with some sort of agreement. While it’s a good idea to inform your co-parent, keep in mind that your child support obligation is a court order, which means that any adjustments or modifications to it must be approved by a judge.
What You Should Do If You Lost Your Job and Can’t Pay Child Support
You must request the court for a legal modification to your child support order. But you should know that the judge will only approve your modification request if you can prove that you have experienced a significant change in your financial situation. Unless you’re really wealthy, losing your job will trigger a substantial loss of income and certainly qualifies as a significant change. It’s understandable that you may have a difficult time covering your personal expenses and continue making child support payments on time.
When you file your modification request, make sure that you have the proper evidence to demonstrate why you cannot afford to pay child support. These can include:
- Your termination paperwork
- Paychecks, if your wages have been reduced
- Medical records if you suffered an injury or illness
- Anything else that can show why your financial situation has changed and that you are not just trying to avoid paying child support.
It is also crucial to note that you must have lost your job involuntarily. If you quit your job without a reasonable cause, such as an illness or an injury, the judge will not be sympathetic to your plight. You cannot just fake losing your job and ask the judge to reduce or temporarily stop your child support payments. The judge would still consider the earnings you could be receiving from other sources when deciding on the support amount you must pay.
In addition, whether or not you are on good terms with your co-parent, consider telling them about your financial situation. It may help prevent them from filing legal action against you if you suddenly stop paying child support. Also, doing so can help speed up the legal proceedings because both parents must provide financial documents the judge will evaluate when reviewing your modification request.
Get In Touch With a Florida Family Law Attorney Now
Remember—even if you recently lost your job, you must continue making child support payments until a judge approves your child support modification request. Otherwise, you can face various penalties, including wage garnishment, losing your driver’s license, having liens placed on your property, felony charges, and jail time.
For legal guidance on child support modification or other family law matters, contact Brian McMahon, our Florida family law attorney, right away. Call 561-658-1789 or contact us online to arrange your free consultation with our Florida family law attorney.