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Do You Have to Pay Child Support if You are Unemployed?

man packing up his belongs at work

Losing a job can be terrifying, especially if you are a divorced parent. We know that being unemployed comes with uncertainty, burdens, and fears. If this is the situation you are in, we’re here to help you know what your options are for child support.

If you become unemployed, you are still obligated to pay child support. Skipping or avoiding payments will not make them go away and can come with consequences. You may have to pay interest in some cases, and in more severe cases, you may be found in contempt of your support orders. This will cost you even more in court fees and could lead to fines or jail time.

So what should you do if you cannot afford your child support payments? Find out if you are eligible for unemployment benefits, and use a portion of that to meet support obligations. Those expected to pay child support without a source of income should also know that the court may impute income. To determine this, they will look at three factors:

  • Ability to work

  • Opportunity to work

  • Willingness to work

If a parent deliberately chooses to stay unemployed, courts are more likely to impute income than a parent who lost a job for a legitimate reason and is unable to find work despite reasonable efforts. In some cases, a parent may choose to remain unemployed to avoid child support payments, which is unwise.

Changing Your Child Support Order

If a parent experiences financial hardship or goes through a significant life change, the only way to legally change support obligations is by seeking a modification. In this case, parents should seek the assistance of a skilled attorney who can help them navigate the complexities of child support laws.

Call our child support attorney today at (619) 485-6476, and get started on your initial consultation.

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