Joseph in Windham was recently laid off from his job in construction and can no longer afford to pay $1,500 per month in child support while he is unemployed. What should he do?
If you are laid off or lose your job through no fault of your own, you should immediately file a Petition/Motion to Modify Child Support with the appropriate family court. A copy should be sent to the other parent immediately via email or certified mail. This applies even if the other parent agrees that you do not have to pay child support while you are out of work.
Despite losing your job and the resulting loss of income, you are responsible for the full payment of child support until the court signs an order modifying child support. By filing the motion to modify immediately upon your job loss, you give the court the ability to modify child support retroactively to the date you served the other party with a copy of your motion. So, although you may have to wait a month or more for a hearing, the court can decide to lower your child support for the period between the date you served the motion on the other party and the date the court enters the new child support amount.
On the other hand, if you wait to file a motion to modify, you will owe child support at the prior ordered amount up to the date you served the motion on the other parent.
If you are receiving unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation benefits during your unemployment period, the court will calculate child support based on any income you are receiving during your unemployment period.
The minimum child support order is $50 per month, so you will be expected to pay at least this amount regardless of your monthly income.
The Court will expect you to make reasonable search efforts to become employed. When you do obtain employment you will be required to report your employment and compensation to the Court so that child support can be recalculated. Even if you do not report your reemployment promptly, the court can calculate your child support obligation retroactively to your date of employment and find you responsible for payment of the arrearages, even years later.
Please contact Welts, White & Fontaine, P.C. at (603) 883-0797.
This blog is intended for informational use only. The information contained herein should not be construed as offering legal advice or a legal opinion.