Every parent has an obligation to support their child, and a child support order will make this duty abundantly clear. We all know that job losses are a part of life. But what is a parent’s responsibility if it happens to them? If you’re the parent who is owed child support, what should you do when the other parent claims unemployment? Whichever side of the child support ledger you’re on, you need to know how unemployment can affect child support. The family law attorneys of Greenville Family Law can help.
First, remember that parents cannot voluntarily quit their jobs and expect to get a break in their child support obligation. That means the paying parent cannot deliberately cause him- or herself to be fired, either. If you are the parent who is owed support, and the payments suddenly stop, take action to find out why. Be sure to consult an experienced Greenville, SC child support attorney.
A similar problem arises where a parent takes a lower paying job or doesn’t work to their full potential. You’re still employed, but not to the extent you could be. This often occurs where the paying parent is self-employed. Working for yourself has its advantages, but sometimes you don’t make as much as with a traditional job.
A Greenville, SC child support attorney will need to review the circumstances surrounding the paying parent’s employment situation. It’s not always a black and white issue for either parent, however. When a parent simply stops paying, it is relatively easy to go to court to address this issue. But what if the parent just isn’t earning as much as they could be? You may need evidence pertaining to the parent’s work and education histories to demonstrate they could be working more.
The paying parent may claim disability, an accident, or injury to justify the inability to work (or earn as much). Here again, you will want to see the evidence to make sure this claim is valid. One such way to verify this could be to examine medical records or workplace accident reports.
Whatever the reason for the paying parent’s claims, evidence will be needed to support or refute them. This may require the use of discovery to obtain such information. Discovery is a term that broadly refers to information gathering methods such as interrogatories and requests for production. With respect to child support, you may need to issue a subpoena for records relating to the other parent’s claims. An experienced Greenville, SC child support attorney can help with this process.
If you’re the paying parent and you’ve lost your job, it’s important to take immediate action. Your child support obligation will not automatically end. Even if the other parent privately gives you a break, back child support will accrue. This can quickly get out of hand. Not to mention, the other parent could change their mind at any moment. That means contempt of court if you cannot come up with the money.
Child support orders can be modified based on a substantial change of circumstances, like a job loss. But to modify the order, you will need to file a motion in court. The amount of child support can be modified only from the date you file and after. Let’s say you owe $600 a month in child support. You get injured in January, and you miss paying child support for that month and February. Then in March, you file a motion to modify child support. In April, the court issues an order lowering your obligation to $200 a month in light of your injury.
Starting in March, and going forward, you will owe $200 a month. But you will still owe the $600 a month for both January and February. Waiting to file a motion to modify will only hurt you. This is why, if you find yourself unemployed, you should talk to a Greenville, SC child support attorney immediately.
We Can Answer Your Child Support Questions
Job losses can cause difficulties for either parent in the child support equation. Whichever side you are on, you may have questions about how unemployment will affect your case. You can rely on the experience of Greenville Family Law. We represent both paying parents and those who are owed child support, and we can help you. Call us today to schedule a consultation.