The Novel Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in businesses closing and many people losing their jobs. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed and may continue to climb. This leaves many parents who pay court-ordered child support in a difficult spot.
If you have court-ordered child support payments withheld from your paycheck, there are some things you need to know about how that works. Also, you may be able to have the amount of your child support reduced by the court due to your job loss.
What You Need to Know About the Wage Withholding Order
If your child support payments are withheld from your earnings by your employer, you may think you are current with your child support payment. That may not be true because the withholding order may be incorrect, may have started later than the child support obligation started in the court order, or the employer is not withholding enough. What controls is the actual amount of child support that was ordered to be paid in the underlying court order.
If you are laid off during this pandemic, the withholding order will lapse because you are not earning a paycheck. However, you will still owe the child support. Don’t assume that the court and the parent to whom you are paying child support will understand why you are not paying support. If you cannot pay, you need to take measures to modify the court order to reduce the child support amount to one you can pay.
How to Work Toward Getting a Reduction in Child Support Due to Your Job Loss
Don’t just stop paying support. Instead, contact an attorney or the Office of the Attorney General as soon as you lose your job and know there will be no withholding of your child support payments. You can apply to the Office of the Attorney General for their assistance in filing a motion to reduce child support. Explain that your income has reduced or disappeared due to due to your job loss, which may meet the legal standard of “a material and substantial change in circumstances.” The job loss must be involuntary and through no fault of your own. Be sure to have documentation to support your situation, such as a lay-off notice, termination letter, last paycheck and any severance pay. Also, be sure to apply for unemployment benefits if you are eligible.
For More Information About Child Support Modification, Contact an Experienced Dallas Family Law Attorney