Most of us have no choice but to work and earn a living so we can pay our bills. If you lose your job, it can be very frustrating, especially if you have dependents to support. While a week out of work may be tolerable, an extended period of unemployment can mean you can’t afford to keep up with your child support payments.
Since child support is based on a noncustodial parent’s income, it makes sense why so many parents automatically assume that if they lose their job and have no income rolling in, that they don’t have to pay child support until they get another job. This, however, is a misconception and if you skip your payments because you’re unemployed, it can lead to serious ramifications.
Parents Are Obligated to Pay Child Support
All parents are legally obligated to support their minor children. This obligation does not end because a parent is unemployed, disabled, injured, or mentally ill. The only way that a parent is relieved of this obligation is if their parental rights are terminated.
If you lose your job, you are still on the hook for your monthly child support payments under the current child support order. If you miss several payments, the local child support collection agency will spring into action and will use a variety of enforcement techniques to collect the money you owe.
If you owe child support, any of the following could occur:
- Your bank accounts can be levied
- Your tax refund can be taken
- Your driver’s license can be suspended
- You can be denied a U.S. passport
- Liens can be placed on your property
- The delinquency can be reported on your credit, harming your FICO score
- Other licenses, such as professional and recreational licenses can be suspended
“Can child support be garnished from unemployment benefits?” is a question that comes up a lot. Yes, it can. It can also be taken from workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability benefits. It cannot, however, be taken from Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
If you lost your job and can’t afford your child support payments, our advice is to contact Burch Shepard Family Law Group immediately so we can petition the court for a downward modification. Since child support is not retroactive, it’s best to do this sooner than later.