The depressed economy has affected everyone from small business to individual workers. Unemployment is currently as high as it was during the Great Depression, and families are struggling to get through. Economic stimulus payments and unemployment benefits are now lifelines for many families to make ends meet. But what happens when you have had a job where your child support has been taken out of a paycheck that now isn’t coming anymore?
In many instances, child support is garnished from a parent’s paycheck via Income Deduction Order or Income Withholding Orders. When these orders are in place, the employer takes the child support out of parent’s check before they receive their net pay, just like payments of taxes or health insurance. When an employee is separated from employment, either by getting fired, let go, or terminated, the employer communicates this cease of employment to the relevant state agency that manages wage information and unemployment benefits. Once your unemployment begins, a portion of your unemployment will be held back for payment of part of your child support. If you are able, you should try to make up the difference in your child support so that you avoid issues that can arise by failing to pay child support.
Failure to pay child support is one of the many issues that arise in a family law case. When one parent seeks to have their child support order enforced by the court, it can devasting impact on the paying spouse who is having difficulty even on a temporary basis. It can also impact the co-parenting relationship significantly, if one parent feels that the other parent is not following through with their part of the deal of raising a child together. Having an experienced attorney represent you in these proceedings is not provided to you by the court, so retaining your own attorney is crucial in ensuring that your specific facts and circumstances are made clear to the court. If you do not pay your child, without taking action or providing the court with a reason why this inability was beyond your control, could result in you losing your driver’s license, paying a large amount in full, or even going to jail. Therefore, to avoid these problems, having an experienced family law attorney represent you to not only answer a Motion for Contempt or Motion to Suspend Driver’s License, or take proactive steps to let your co-parent know of your financial trouble and the courts will help to reduce this already stressful situation.
In each and every case, we recommend to parents who face this dilemma to do their best to communicate hardship to the other parent, and work out agreements to avoid judicial involvement. In many situations, having an honest, even if it’s difficult conversation about losing a job can help to let the other parent that you are not doing this by choice, or as a way of bargaining. Everyone falls on difficult times from one time or another, and communicating that you need help may be a great way to let your co-parent know that you are doing best to make the situation better, and you will make it up in time. If you are out of work, keeping a log of how many jobs you are applying to find new employment, or taking a lower paying job, may help to show the judge that you are doing everything in your power to make some payments toward supporting your child, and as a result, may decrease the likelihood of the judge taking stern action to compel payments.
These are not simple situations, and while economic uncertainty continues to grow, as well stress for any person facing these difficult times, we at Wood, Atter, & Wolf, P.A. care that you are not only heading back to financial recovery, and also protecting your rights and responsibilities. All things are temporary, and financial hardship can seem like an endless scenario, but having the knowledge of how to best proceed and take the appropriate steps to move forward together in these trying times.