There are thousands of newly-unemployed people in Tennessee. If you have recently lost your job and are unsure how it will affect your child support payments, then read on.
The obvious thing to do is to take action, and move fast. The unemployed person should contact our office and seek a child support modification immediately. Avoiding the issue will make resolution much more difficult. Either parent can request a modification due to changed circumstances such as changes in income, unemployment, medical expenses or additional costs associated with raising the child as he or she grows.
If you are the recipient of child support and your ex loses their job, consider agreeing to a reduction on a temporary basis (after the court grants a Temporary Order) so that it will be easier to restore the child support to its original level once your ex becomes employed again.
The amount of child support you owe was originally determined using your income and financial reports provided at that time. However, as we know, circumstances do change. In fact, this can happen many times over the years that you are paying child support.
I cannot stress how important it is to keep in mind that it is far better to request a modification due to changed circumstances than to fail to pay child support!
The Court may not accept a non-custodial parent’s unemployment status when considering the child support obligation. If the paying parent is unemployed but has worked at all before, the Court may attribute the income that the parent earned when that parent was working to the child support calculation. In other words they may use the income that the non-custodial parent earned at the time they were working as if the parent was currently employed and earning that same wage.
It may be a good idea to first discuss your job loss with your ex before taking legal action. Find out if your ex is willing to work with you to make an agreement either to suspend or modify support while you are unemployed. This reduces possible animosity, legal fees and/or lost wages.
There are many, many people out there who have gone through this or know someone who has. Seek advice from them as well as your lawyer, but remember to make your move quickly.
Call the law office of Andrew Farmer at (865) 428-6737 for a free consultation.