Can you modify child support if you lost your job? Maybe.

Child Support and the Loss of Your Income

You have a child support obligation and you just got laid off or furloughed. What should you do? Child support laws have changed recently. On February 1, 2020, the former statutes were modified and the amount and percentages have changed. It is likely not to have impacted you too much, but there are changes. Your current child support obligation may be outdated.

Simply agreeing to pay less for now and return to the full amount later will not work. Even years later, a recipient may complain about child support arrears. You will need a written agreement between you and the other parent (usually called a stipulation and order) or you will need to file a motion. If your case is managed by the District Attorney, you will note an “R” as the first letter in your case number, you especially need a motion or a written agreement.

Start With These Steps

Follow the law of your case and pay what is needed for now. Ask the other parent for a reduction in child support and get it in writing. Preferably by using an attorney, but at least mark the terms on a paper (you can use a printed email) and each sign and date the form. This is still not enough to fully modify a child support order, but it provides you with a defensive argument. If no progress, then pay something and get a motion to modify child support on file. The Court can modify only back to the date of the filing of the motion, not before that cutoff.

Child Support Changes

Unless your order specifically states that child support will terminate for each child on a date certain, then child support will continue. In other words, you will need to file a motion. Any motions require the filing of an updated Financial Disclosure Form (“FDF”). Any agreement on child support will need to include the new factors, as without these being mentioned, the Court may reject the agreement against both of your wishes. 

Try to resolve matters informally, but please either hire a lawyer to draft your new child support agreements or learn the new laws to make sure you accomplish what you are trying to do. 

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