Does a Parent Have to Pay Child Support if He or She Loses Their Job During this Crisis?

In this video, Dallas attorney, Lindsey Obenhaus explains how if a parent loses his or her job and is unable to pay child support, the child support obligation still continues until such time as that parent has filed a petition to modify child support and a judge has ruled on the issue. The filing of a modification is the date that a court may consider for modifying support, so it is imperative that a parent file as soon as possible after losing his or her job.  However, even after the petition is filed, the obligation to pay continues until a court makes a ruling, which may be some time from the initial filing. During this in between period, a parent should continue to pay child support, or at the very least, as much as possible, to avoid an enforcement order after the Courts reopen and address this issue.

Lindsey answers more questions regarding child support and financial hardship during the time of COVID-19 in her blog, Job Loss & Child Support During COVID.

The answer is that child support will still accrue until not only a parent has filed the modification, but a court has ruled on a modification. So, a parent should act quickly to try to reduce their child support obligation as soon as possible.

It’s important to get in touch with your attorney or your local Attorney General’s office to file that suit because the date that you file is the operative date that a court could retroactively reduce your child support amount. It’s also important to look at your underlying decree or child custody order because a lot of those have notice requirements. So, if your employer changes, or your address or income changes, you may have a duty not only to notify the other co-parent but a duty to notify the court, and possibly the Attorney General’s office as well.

So, it’s important, in these situations, to get in touch with a family law attorney as soon as possible to get advice about what to do if you’re ordered to pay child support right now.

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