Decatur Family Law and Probate Attorney

Can job loss warrant a child support modification?

On Behalf of | Jul 4, 2024 | Divorce

Texas courts follow state guidelines when drafting a child support order. The supporting parent is expected to adhere to it so the child can be adequately provided for.

However, for many people, challenges arise and make it difficult to keep up with their payments. For instance, if the paying parent loses their job, they may need to request a modification to the order.

Knowing how this can be done is vital for both parents.

Job loss can impact child support payments

Income is one of the primary factors that is used when deciding on a child support amount. If a person loses their job and their income is significantly reduced or eliminated entirely, they will still need to pay their child support. Since this is a change in circumstances, it might be possible to modify the amount. The Office of the Attorney General will review the situation and decide.

People who find themselves jobless but still owe child support must inform the OAG. The current payment amount must be adhered to. A person who has lost their job cannot unilaterally decide to lower or stop the payments simply because they have lost their job.

Those without income could have a modified support order that is based on what they earned in the past, if they are able to get new employment at a similar income and the current national minimum wage.

Even if the person gets a new job, there is no guarantee that it will pay the same as the prior job. If it pays less, the support order could be adjusted based on the new income. While temporary reductions in the amount while a person is searching for employment is uncommon, there could be options. People who have lost their job and receive unemployment benefits will need to pay support out of those benefits.

Post-divorce modifications are possible on a case by case basis

Whether a child support modification is related to child support, child custody, possession or any other lingering issue after the divorce, it is imperative to know what is possible and how to proceed. This is true for both the custodial and noncustodial parent. Some issues can be negotiated amicably while others cannot. For these complex areas of the law, it is essential to be fully prepared and know how to achieve the objectives while still properly caring for a child.