Do I Still Owe Child Support if I’ve Lost My Job?
Losing a job can be an unexpected and stressful experience. It can be even more frustrating if you are obligated to make monthly child support payments and have just lost your primary source of income.
If you lost your job or experienced a sudden change in your financial situation, your child support obligations don’t change. You will still owe child support payments every month. However, an experienced Virginia child support lawyer could help you assess your options and explore potential solutions to help alleviate the financial burden of child support payments while you are searching for a new job.
Calculating Child Support in Virginia
In Virginia, the courts take several factors into account when determining child support:
- Both parents’ income, including their salaries, work bonuses, retirement funds, lottery winnings, investment dividends, and any other sources of income
- Whether one parent has sole custody of the child or both parents share joint custody
- The amount of financial support the child would have received had the parents not divorced and the family remained together.
- The costs of work-related childcare and medical insurance premiums for the minor child
Even in joint custody arrangements where the child spends ample time with both parents, one parent typically has to pay child support to the other. Typically, the parent who the child resides with most often will be entitled to receive child support. In other words, the child is primarily cared for by one parent while the other provides financial support.
How to Modify Child Support in Virginia
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, parents can request modifications to the original child support order for various reasons. Both the payor (person who pays child support) and payee (person who receives child support) can request a change to the terms of the court order.
If you suddenly lost your job through no fault of your own, you could seek a modification to your current child support payment arrangement. To succeed, you must demonstrate that your financial situation has significantly changed since the court first issued the last child support order. Section 20-108 of the Virginia Code allows courts to adjust child support payment amounts if the payor experiences a change in circumstances, such as if they suddenly become unemployed.
However, because the court will always put your child’s best interests first, they’ll likely only adjust the amount you must pay if you can show that modifying the original order would not adversely affect your child. Sometimes, payors will also deliberately remain unemployed to avoid paying child support, so making an active effort to search for a new job will reassure the court that you are not intentionally unemployed.
The state of Virginia allows payors to request a review of the amount of child support they are paying and can adjust the amount based on the payor’s current income. However, the paperwork can be time-consuming and complex, so it’s best to consult with an attorney before you submit your documents.
Contact a Virginia Child Support Lawyer
If you are recently unemployed and owe child support, contact ROOP XANTTOPOULOS BABOUNAKIS & KLAM to discuss your situation. Changing a child support order is a complicated process, and there are numerous factors you must consider before you attempt to modify your payments. You are much more likely to successfully modify your child support order if you have experienced legal representation to advocate on your behalf. Contact our Vienna family law attorneys by phone or online for a confidential consultation.