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How is child support affected if I lose my job?

For noncustodial parents who are paying child support, there are times when they are not able to make the payments in full because of job loss. When a person loses his or her job and owes child support, the lack of employment does not eliminate the requirement to pay the child support on time and in full. However, the state does understand that these circumstances will inevitably arise and they are often out of the supporting parent's control. With that, it is essential to understand what legal steps to take after job loss.

First, the parent should inform the local child support office that he or she has lost the job. This is required by law and will be beneficial to understand how much is owed, what might happen if the payments are in arrears and how any enforcement actions can be precluded. Next, the parent can request that there be a review of the order. While losing a job does not terminate the requirement to pay child support, it can be modified if the circumstances warrant it. The modification should be filed in the court that issued the order.

There are several choices when filing for a modification. They are filling out a form to modify the order by visiting the family court; completing the form online, signing and mailing it; or applying for assistance to fill out and file the forms through child support services. A parent who is receiving unemployment benefits will have the child support withheld from those payments. Before receiving unemployment, the parent must keep up with child support. If the withheld amount does not cover the entire amount that is owed, the parent must make up the difference.

Child support can be a difficult matter to navigate particularly after the loss of a job. Fortunately, for noncustodial parents, there are alternatives to handle the situation. The best interests of the child are always paramount and these issues can negatively affect the child. With that in mind, having legal assistance to avoid penalties and address the case without an ongoing child support dispute is vital. Speaking to an attorney who is well-acquainted with child support guidelines is key after losing a job while paying child support.

Source: childsupport.ny.gov, "Noncustodial Parent Services -- Lost job," accessed on May 8, 2017

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