We at the Orlando Law Group understand that this is an incredibly tumultuous time for the world, a time where feelings of stress and uncertainty often cloud even the most optimistic of views.
If we can provide even a little bit of clarity for not only our clients but those out there dealing with issues of child support with reduced income, we will have done our job.
What happens if a parent who pays child support has been involuntarily terminated?
In a time where hundreds of thousands of people are being let go from their jobs, thus losing their steady stream of income, the Courts look to a party’s individual circumstances to determine whether or not their child support obligation should be temporarily suspended.
Temporary relief from child support is possible where the paying parent has been involuntarily terminated, he/she has searched thoroughly for a new job, the paying parent has depleted their assets, and their unemployment benefits have expired.
Such relief may also be possible where there has been a significant, permanent reduction in income. If, however, the reduction is only temporary, the courts ultimately have the power to suspend payments.
It is important to note that a parent who is temporarily unemployed may not be subject to contempt proceedings for failure to make child support payments, based on the fact that the unemployment is the root cause of his/her inability to pay.
Additionally, Courts hold that a parent’s temporary relief from child support payments shall only be effective during the time in which it was reasonably necessary for them to gain employment. You have to file a Motion to reduce child support right away and try to get a hearing because all obligations will keep being due until the obligation is reduced.
In the event that you had money coming out of a paycheck and you do not work at that company any longer, the Department of Revenue can suspend your license or pursue you for not paying. We hope they will slow this process during this time, but you still have to be proactive as failure to pay can result in license suspension and in the worst-case scenario jail.
Quire often, Judges are understanding, but they prefer when people are proactive.
What happens to payment of back child support?
Where the loss of the paying parent’s job is definite and the court has temporarily reduced the paying parent’s child support, they shall not be required to pay any amounts that are owed (arrearages), if they are currently making the reduced child support payments ordered by the Court.
Again, you need a court order to reduce the amount of support.
What happens if a parent is voluntarily unemployed?
Where a paying parent has created circumstances that a Court believes may amount to voluntary unemployment, the court may impute income (assign an income amount for the parent) sufficient to continue the current child support payments.
A modification of child support may be done by the court to reflect payments the parent could make if he/she was not voluntarily employed.
Therefore, if you are a parent that has made an exhaustive effort to seek employment and are truly struggling to pay your current child support amount, the court may have the ability to temporarily suspend or reduce such payments until you are reemployed.
It is important to understand that a parent’s obligation to support their child terminates at death, so the temporary suspension of such support will only be granted if the Court finds it absolutely necessary.
In conclusion, if you have any questions regarding your child support payments, or if you need assistance with temporarily suspending them, please do not hesitate to contact a family law attorney at The Orlando Law Group at 407.512.4394 to schedule a consultation today.