Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Lose My Job?

Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Lose My Job?

Posted By R. Gregory Colvin LLC || 8-Oct-2019

Child support orders are typically issued in divorce and paternity cases. Even though child support orders are made every day, a lot of parents have misunderstandings about their state’s child support laws and Florida parents are no exception. Often, these misunderstandings can lead to mistakes and preventable legal problems, especially for noncustodial parents who pay child support.

If you’re the noncustodial parent who has been ordered to pay child support and for some reason, you lose your job, you may wonder if you don’t have to pay child support since you don’t have any income. Unfortunately, it does not work that way and that is one of the biggest confusions that paying parents to have about child support.

Noncustodial Parents Must Pay Child Support

Because child support payments are based on income, it’s understandable why so many parents get confused about unemployment and child support. Often, a parent will lose their job and stop paying child support, but that doesn’t stop the child support from accruing, and there’s no way the parent can convince the court to reduce their payments going back to the date they became unemployed. Why? Because child support is not retroactive.

Parents are generally expected to support their children until they turn 18 or graduate high school, whichever happens later. That obligation does not change if either parent becomes unemployed, disabled, or even incarcerated. So, what do you do if you lose your job for some reason? What options do you have? You ask the court for a downward modification.

Petitioning for a Downward Modification

Florida child support orders are based on both parents’ incomes as well as the child’s needs. If you become unemployed or if your income reduces significantly, you can ask the family court for a downward modification if your current child support order has not been reviewed or changed in the last three years, or if you can show the court that you have experienced a big life change; a job loss would certainly fit those criteria.

Note: Child support can be taken from unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation, and Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, however, it cannot be taken from Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Next: What is Civil Contempt of Court?

If you need help with a child support matter, contact R. Gregory Colvin, LLC today.

Categories: Child Support

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