Can I Stop Paying Child Support if I Lost My Job?

No matter the reason or circumstances, losing your job is always stressful. As bills begin to pile, rent payments are due, and groceries need to be paid for, many people who pay child support often begin wondering if they can stop these support payments until they get a new job.

Never Stop Paying Support Without Consulting a Judge

The goal of Florida’s child support guidelines is to ensure the child’s best interest is the highest priority. To make sure the child is being well cared for by both parents, the courts consider several factors:

  • Each parent's gross income.
  • Each parent’s assets.
  • How much time the child spends with each parent.
  • Which tax deductions each parent can claim.
  • Child care costs for each parent.
  • Deductions from a parent's income, like health insurance or pensions.

How Unemployment Affects Child Support Payments

The loss of a job or a substantial change in one parent’s income is a valid reason to request a modification of your child support agreement. However, before you can begin paying a different amount than what was previously agreed upon, the change must be signed off on by a judge. You can not decide on your own that because you lost your job, you can now start paying a lesser amount (or stop payments altogether).

How You Lost Your Job is Taken Into Consideration

The court never wants to see that a parent is actively avoiding making their child support payments. If you quit your job or were fired due to misconduct, a judge may take that into consideration and be less likely to adjust your payment amount. But if you lost your job for legitimate reasons and are making every effort to find a new one, the court will take that into consideration and usually will not impute your income.

Are you looking to change your child support payments? You have the right to request a child support modification if you can prove that your circumstances have changed substantially since the original order. Contact Orshan, Spann & Fernandez-Mesa online or call (305) 853-9161 to learn how we can help!