Do You Still Have to Pay Child Support if You Lose Your Job?

If you have a court order to pay child support, you need to do everything within your power to ensure that you uphold your obligation.  However, what if you have lost your job?  You may be wondering if this counts as a seriously mitigating circumstance.  A common worry is also how you’ll be able to pay without an income.

If you have lost your job, it can certainly be impossible to pay your child support and also feed and house yourself.  Unemployment benefits may be less than you expect, and you can find yourself dipping heavily into your savings just to stay afloat. 


However, you cannot sit back and hope your ex-spouse understands.  The best thing to do is to retain the services of an attorney, or to speak with the child support enforcement agency in your area and ask about a Modification of Support filing. 


You also need to understand that every payment you miss violates that court order.  You can be held in contempt of court, or even sent to jail for not paying, even if you do not have a job (though this is rare).


The most important thing to do is to alert the child support enforcement agency of your state that you are unemployed and keep them apprised of your job search results.  This shows that you are at least attempting to do something so that you can pay your child support.  If you do nothing, then it looks like you are trying to avoid paying, which can result in some serious fines and fees assessed. 


You also need to remember that any unpaid child support is tacked onto your account as arrears, and can even accrue interest.

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