Noncustodial Parents: What to Do If You’re Suddenly Unemployed

Lady Justice

With COVID-19, the economy has been impacted. Industries, such as those in retail, travel, tourism, bartending, dining, hospitality, the culinary arts, and cosmetology have taken a hit. As such, individuals working in these industries may find themselves dealing with layoffs, extended periods of unemployment, and having to seek work in an entirely different industry.

If you’re a noncustodial parent who has been impacted by the pandemic or experienced unemployment for another reason, and you’re not sure how you’re going to keep up with your child support payments, listen up. We care about you and your situation and want to make sure that your employment situation doesn’t make your child support obligation too much to bear.

Effects of Skipping Payments

Before we discuss what to do in regard to child support during unemployment, first we want you to be aware of the effects of skipping child support payments. If you fall too far behind on child support, it will lead to a host of negative consequences, such as:

  • Driver license suspension
  • Business license suspension
  • Recreational license suspensions
  • Denial of U.S. passport
  • Seizure of bank funds (including joint bank accounts)
  • Tax refund intercept
  • Real estate liens
  • Credit reporting
  • Contempt of court, including fines and jail time

If you experience a significant change in your financial circumstances, you don’t want to ignore the situation and stop paying child support because if you do, the local child support agency can use any one or more of the above tools to collect money from you, and it won’t be pretty.

If you find yourself out of work, contact an attorney from our firm immediately to petition the court for a downward modification. Child support is not retroactive, so the court cannot go back and change it from the day you lost your job. It can only be changed through a court order.

Note: Child support can be taken from unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, and Social Security Disability benefits. Unemployment does not relieve a parent of their obligation to pay child support, so the best solution is to have it reduced as much as possible until you get back on your feet.

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