Losing a job is a difficult event for everyone. The entire family is impacted when the main earner unexpectedly loses their job. When you have children and have to pay child support, this may be very challenging. There are some things to know about changing your child support arrangement if you have just lost your job, and this guide will help explain the process.
This article will explore whether or not you’ll have to pay child support after the loss of your job. In addition to this guide, if you have recently lost your job and cannot afford to pay child support, a Florida child support attorney may be able to help in more depth.
Do You Have to Pay Child Support If You Lose Your Job in Florida?
If a parent quits their job or changes jobs after a Florida child support order has been made, the amount of child support may need to be adjusted. How do you determine if you are eligible for a child support adjustment in Florida?
First, there needs to be a material change in circumstances that wasn’t anticipated when child support was first ordered—one that is significant, permanent, unavoidable, and important. For instance, if it was anticipated that your income would change after support was imposed, you might not be eligible for a modification.
To be eligible for a modification if you lost your job or had a reduced income, the cause of your loss of employment or income must have been involuntary. You might not be eligible for a decrease in your support payments if you resigned from your employment, were dismissed due to misbehavior, or willingly accepted a lower salary.
The court may order the payor to look for work and submit periodic reports with the court, or with the department, outlining the payor’s attempts to seek and find employment during the reporting period, if the parent falls behind on their child support payments and is not currently employed, underemployed, or has little in the way of income but is able to work and can be trained for a job. Additionally, the parent must inform the court or the department, as applicable, as soon as they start earning money or acquiring property. In rare circumstances, the parent could be compelled to take part in employment programs such as job placement, work experience, or training for new jobs.
What Should I Do if I Owe Child Support But Lost My Job?
So what happens if you lose your job or receive a big salary reduction while still owing child support? What steps need to be taken?
Start by always speaking with an attorney. Each situation is different, and a skilled family law attorney should be able to explain your legal choices and future actions to you. Many lawyers provide no-cost first consultations, which might help you gauge how much the change will cost against what you’ll gain from it.
Ignoring the issue is the worst thing you can do in this circumstance. You are in breach of a court order each time you fail to pay child support as directed. If the judge determines that you have the means to pay but wilfully choose not to, you may be held in contempt and perhaps sentenced to jail. You are ultimately liable for paying any arrears that are accrued as a result of your missed payments because they are cumulative.
Even though some courts are sympathetic to financial difficulties, there are precise steps that must be taken in order to modify your support responsibilities. Possibly the most significant financial commitment you have is your responsibility to pay child support. You may be held in contempt of court, subject to fines and penalties, and possibly go to jail if the judge determines that you wilfully neglected to pay child support when you had the means to do so.
You do have options. You may benefit from applying for a Modification of Child Support if you’ve lost your employment or had a significant change in circumstances. Your eligibility for a decrease or even an elimination of child support will depend on the specifics of your case.
Furthermore, you have to keep looking for work. If you’ve lost your work, it’s crucial to demonstrate to the court that you’re making an effort to find gainful employment once more. Judges detest seeing parents with responsibilities who are purposely jobless. It’s crucial to evaluate your abilities and make an effort to find employment as soon as you can. You can receive relief as soon as you submit a modification.
Understanding a Modification of Child Support
You still need to pay your child support on time even if you don’t have a job. You must speak with Florida’s child support enforcement office right away if you are unable to make a payment. Your present status and income may allow you to change your payments. Although losing a job might be challenging, it’s crucial to keep in mind that your child still needs assistance.
After that, you have to submit a Modification of Child Support. When there are major changes in circumstances, the procedure of child support modification can potentially take place. A change in income is one of the main reasons people want to adjust child support. You can be qualified for a modification of your child support payments if you’ve lost your job or seen a major fall in income.
Making a motion to the court is the first step. Documentation of the change in circumstances must be provided, such as a letter from your employer or pay stubs demonstrating a reduction in income. After reviewing the request, the court will determine whether to change the child support order.
Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support if I Quit My Job?
If you decide to leave your work, a court is very unlikely to postpone your need to pay child support. The justification for this is that courts consider child support to be property of the child and essential to the growth and development of the child.
The court is likewise dubious of certain parents who would deliberately try to drastically cut their salaries in order to have lower child support obligations. The court will instead make an effort to impute income to a parent who quits their employment. For the purpose of determining the parent’s child support obligations, the court will assume the parent is actually receiving money through imputed income.
Simply put– if you lose your job due to circumstances that didn’t really involve you, your child support payments can be temporarily modified. If you quit your job or are fired for poor behavior, the court is unlikely to help you. However, it always depends on your unique circumstance.
Seek Out a Florida Child Support Attorney That Has Your Child’s Best Interest In Mind
Griffin Family Law, PLLC is a Florida-based law firm with years of experience dealing with all areas of child support in Florida. We prioritize assisting customers in achieving great results while keeping the child’s present and long-term health and well-being at the forefront of our thoughts. We can help you through the process whether you need to acquire, enforce, or alter a child support order. Call us today to learn more at (904) 543-3878.
How was our guide to understanding if you’re required to pay child support if you’ve lost your job? Don’t forget to give the child support attorney at Griffin Family Law, PLLC a call as soon as possible if you’ve lost your job and can no longer afford child support payments.