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Can I Stop Paying Child Support if I Lose My Job?

 Posted on August 22, 2023 in Divorce

San Antonio child support lawyerIf you are required to pay child support, and you have lost your job, you may be wondering about how your obligations will be affected. It is important to understand that until a child support modification order is issued by the court, you cannot stop making child support payments.

The Legal Obligation to Pay Child Support

The state of Texas has put guidelines in place to determine child support payments based on factors like the income earned by parents and the number of children. Once an order for child support has been put in place by the court system, it is legally binding until it is modified or terminated through proper channels. Losing your job does not automatically relieve you of your requirement to pay child support. You must keep making payments as ordered, and if you miss any payments, these amounts will be owed until they are paid in full.

Petition for Modification of Child Support

If your circumstances change due to unemployment or any other reasons for a loss of income, it may be possible to seek a modification of your child support order. However, keep in mind that temporary or short-term unemployment may not merit changes unless other factors are involved, such as health issues or disability.

To request a modification, you will need to:

  • Gather documentation: Collect evidence showing that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. This may include a termination notice from your former employer or proof that you are unable to obtain new employment within reasonable time frames.
  • Contact an attorney: An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the modification process and ensure your rights are protected.
  • File a petition: Your attorney will help you complete the necessary legal documents, known as a Petition for Modification, which outlines your current situation and explains why child support needs to be modified due to unemployment.
  • Court review: After filing the petition, there will likely be a court hearing where you can make arguments for why child support should be modified, and the other parent may make arguments that the existing order should remain in place. The judge will evaluate all evidence presented before making a decision about whether to modify child support.

Making a Good Faith Effort to Search for Employment

While a judge may be understanding of your situation and grant a temporary modification, they will also want to make sure you have not left your job or reduced your income in an attempt to avoid paying child support. They will want to make sure that you are making an effort to find a new job or other sources of income. 

To increase your chances of having child support modified, you will want to document each step taken during your job search, including applications submitted, job interviews you attended, and any responses from potential employers. You can also provide evidence showing that you sought suitable job opportunities or took other steps to improve your chances of success, such as attending workshops or networking events related to career development. If returning to school or pursuing further education is part of your strategy for increasing your income in the future, provide details about the steps you are taking to do so. 

If you can show that you lost your job through no fault of your own and that you are doing everything you can to make sure you will be able to support yourself and your children, the judge may agree to reduce your child support obligations temporarily. If there are issues that will permanently affect your ability to earn an income, such as serious health issues that prevent you from working full-time, the judge may decide to modify your child support obligations permanently.

Contact Our San Antonio Child Support Modification Lawyer

If you are facing unemployment and struggling to meet your child support obligations, it is crucial to consult with a skilled attorney who can protect your rights while advocating for fair solutions. At Brandon Wong & Associates, our Bexar County child support modification attorney can help you navigate the legal process of seeking a modification, and we will ensure that your rights and your financial interests are protected. Contact us at 210-201-3832 to arrange a consultation today.


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