Can You Pay Less if You Earn Less?
As soon as a couple welcomes a child into the world, they assume an obligation to provide for their new baby. If the parents are living together, the two will share the caregiving duties and general costs of raising a kid. However, if the parents are living separately, one will typically be the primary custodian, and the other will compensate for their share of parenting responsibilities by providing child support payments.
While parents may find their child support agreement reasonable and sustainable for years, the court understands that life happens, and changes may be necessary in the future. If either parent loses their job, they may qualify for an adjustment of child support.
When Child Support Can Be Changed
Child support is modifiable in Massachusetts after any substantial material change in circumstance, such as a job loss or loss of unemployment benefits. Alternatively, one may seek a modification if there is:
- A change in the child’s living arrangement
- A change in health insurance availability or affordability
- A disparity between the current amount being paid and the amount expected under the Child Support Guidelines
What to Do When You Lose Your Job
When you’ve lost your job and, with it, your ability to pay child support, you must seek legal assistance to start the modification process immediately. The procedure our lawyers help you pursue will depend on whether your coparent agrees with your requested change.
If you and your coparent can agree on the terms of your modification, we can submit a modification proposal to the Probate and Family Court that issued your original child support order. If you do not agree, we will need to file a Complaint for Modification, serve your coparent with notice, and attend a scheduled hearing.
Once we’ve filed a Complaint for Modification, we will need to wait for your new order to change your payments. If you are financially unable to wait for the court to change your support obligation, we can help you seek a temporary order to address your changed circumstances and inability to provide while your case is pending.
What the Courts Consider
When contemplating whether a modification is necessary, the judge will evaluate the current order, review financial statements, and listen to each party as they describe the changes to their circumstances. Our lawyers will help you compile relevant evidence showing a lack of available funds, absence of income, loss of unemployment benefits, or any other necessary details that prove your inability to afford the amount that was previously agreed upon.
Our firm understands how disheartening a job loss can be, and how devastating it is to be unable to provide for your child like you once could. Call us today for help revising your plan to reflect your changed circumstances so that you can begin moving forward once more.
For help modifying your child support payments in response to a job loss, contact Kovacs Law, P.C.