When a parent with child support obligations becomes unemployed, one of their biggest concerns will be about how they will pay their child support with no job. In California, child support can be modified; however, there are restrictions.
How is Child Support Calculated in California?
The Income Shares Model in California is based on the principle that children of divorced parents should receive the same amount of parental income they would if the parent still lived with them.
The following factors should be taken into account when calculating California child support:
The gross income of each parent;
The amount of time the child spends with each parent;
The tax deductions that each parent can claim;
The deductions from a parent's income, including pensions and healthcare;
Child care costs for each parent.
Based on these figures, a child support amount is generated. The California family law court is required to use this amount unless there are certain exceptions. The first exception is when the child support amount exceeds the child's needs because the parent is wealthy. Another exception is when the child has a certain medical condition that requires more child support.
How is Child Support Calculated if I am Unemployed?
In California, if a parent loses his or her source of income, it does not automatically end child support. Parents are still required to fulfill their child support obligations, even if they are unemployed. If a parent stops paying child support, owed payments (known as arrears) will keep adding up until the judge changes the order.
If a parent loses their job, they must go to court as soon as possible in order to file the petition that explains the changes in his or her life circumstances and request a modification of the order. However, the court will need proof that your loss of unemployment severely impacts your ability to pay child support.
For example, if you are eligible for unemployment benefits, a portion of the money from that could be used to pay child support. If the court deems a modification necessary, they will look at several factors to calculate a new amount, including your ability to work, the opportunity to work, and your willingness to work. You must be actively trying to change your circumstances in order for the court to consider lowering your child support payments.
It is also important to remember that parent, who lost his or her job, cannot reach an informal agreement with the other parent to pay less child support due to unemployment. Informal agreements do not have any legal binding and cannot be upheld in court
Is a Child Support Lawyer Necessary?
If you lost your job and need to modify your child support agreement, contact Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C. immediately. You will have to continue to pay the amount of support until the order is legally changed, which can lead to more financial stress.
When you get behind on your child support payments, it can become difficult to catch up depending on how much you owe. Our California child support attorney will help you determine whether your circumstances are grounds for a modification, as well as start the process as soon as possible to protect your rights.
Call Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C. today at (626) 653-4075 to set up a free consultation with our Pasadena family law attorney.