Just about everyone loses a job at some point in time. For some people,
it happens more than once in their lifetime and that’s fairly “normal.”
When you lose your job, it can be scary, especially if you have children
to support. If you become unemployed, it can definitely affect your ability
to keep up with your
child support payments.
If you’re a noncustodial parent who is ordered to pay child support,
it’s important for you to understand that child support orders remain
in effect, regardless if the parent is injured in an accident, becomes
seriously ill, or loses their job. Parents even have to pay child support
if they are incarcerated.
Essentially, parents are legally obligated to financially support their
children and the only thing that changes this is the termination of parental
rights. Know that if you lose your job, you are still obligated to pay
child support, even if you’re unemployed for an extended period of time.
What if I Receive Unemployment Benefits?
As we mentioned above, you are still obligated to pay child support if
you’re out of work. If you miss a payment or several, you’ll
still have to pay it eventually, and you may have to pay interest. Child
support arrears cannot be discharged in bankruptcy and if the court finds
you in contempt for willfully disobeying a child support order, you can
face fines and jail time, though that is usually the court’s last resort.
If you lose your job, you should immediately find out if you’re eligible
for unemployment benefits. If you are eligible, our advice is to notify
the unemployment office about your child support obligation. If you don’t
bring it up, the local child support office will find out that you’re
receiving unemployment benefits eventually. “Can child support be
taken from unemployment benefits?” The answer is, “Yes, absolutely.”
Regardless of how the local child support office learns of your unemployment
benefits, it will start deducting them from your unemployment wages.
Note: Child support can also be deducted from workers’ compensation benefits
and Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, however, Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) benefits are untouchable.
If you become unemployed and you can’t afford your current child
contact our office right away to discuss petitioning the court for a downward
modification, which reflects your current financial circumstances.
Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Lose My Job?