Child support payments are necessary for the upkeep of a child. However, losing your job may affect your ability to earn income and support your child.
If you’re a non-custodial parent, you should know that a child support order will remain in effect even when you lose your job. It means that the law expects you to keep paying child support, irrespective of your employment status.
The state understands that loss of income is a common occurrence, but won’t automatically end your court-ordered payments. You can request a modification of child support payments with the help of child support lawyers Norristown PA. However, a judge will only honor your request on certain factors.
Honoring a Request For Modification of Child Support Payment
The Reason For Job Loss
A judge can only honor your claim for modification if your job loss was involuntary. If you intentionally quit your job or switch to a lesser paying job, the judge can’t oblige your request. A job loss arising from layoffs, disability, or illness is eligible for a modification of child support payments.
Consideration of Work-related Benefits
Job loss alone might not be sufficient to modify child support payments. You might be receiving unemployment benefits, workers compensation, or other palliatives, which are considered income.
A judge will look into the benefits and reduce the amount of child support to reflect your current earnings. If there’s no form of income, the court may temporarily suspend your child support payments.
Filing For Modification of Child Support Payment
The first thing you should do when you lose your job is to file a petition for modification. A delay may be costly, as each time you miss a payment, your arrears pile up as debts. A judge won’t erase payments for the period you didn’t file a claim. It’s a severe issue in Pennsylvania, and depending on the severity of the situation, it can lead to the following:
- Jail term up to six months
- Payment of a fine, besides the owed child support payments
- Probation up to six months
- Court order of civil contempt
The best time to request for a modification is immediately you lose your job. You can file a petition in the family court that issued your child support order. There are child support lawyers in Norristown, PA, that can draft your written motion with the relevant information. You’ll also need to notify the other parent of your plan.
While you wait for a court-ordered modification, you should keep paying the regular child support. It’ll demonstrate a sign of good faith and might help your case before the judge. When the judge eventually grants a modification, it’ll be effective from the day you filed your request.
A job loss may not terminate child support payment. However, it’s a substantial change in circumstances, which is a basis for modification. The good news is that there are child support lawyers in Norristown, PA, who handle such cases. A non-custodial parent who becomes unemployed will have the legal help he needs.