In the wake of the global pandemic, many employers have had to lay off employees, reduce their hours, or completely shut down. For parents with child support obligations, facing a sudden change in income due to uncontrollable circumstances can be overwhelming.
In Texas, court-ordered child support payments do not automatically decrease or stop if you are laid off, fired, ill, or incarcerated. Support will continue until either parent files a child support modification and has a judge rule on the issue. Here our child support attorney explores common questions parents may have about child support and financial hardship during COVID-19.
What are the grounds to modify child support?
In cases where your income has been impacted due to COVID-19 restrictions or another reason, the court can possibly modify the amount of your obligation as long as it has been three years since your child support order was enacted and the new monthly guideline amount is 20% or $100 different; or if there has been a substantial and material change in circumstances.
In most cases, the court will not completely suspend child support. If the obligated parent is unemployed and not earning an income, a Texas court will at least apply a presumption basing the child support amount on the assumption that the parent is still fit to work 40 hours per week at minimum wage or hold a similar job to one they were previously employed at.
When should I file for a child support modification?
The most important thing to do immediately after facing a job loss or change in income is to file a suit to modify child support. The date that the modification is filed is usually the date the court will consider retroactively changing the amount of support. Child support payments will continue to accrue each month after the modification request until a court makes its decision.
Will government benefits go to my child support payments?
Parents that are receiving unemployment benefits will be factored into the paying parent’s current net resources in order to calculate the new modified child support amount. According to the Texas Attorney General, up to 50% of unemployment can be withheld for monthly child support obligations.
Do You Have More Questions About Child Support?
When navigating uncertain economic difficulties during troubling times, it is important to stay calm and continue to try and fulfill your child support obligations as much as possible. If you have experienced a significant change in your circumstances, please contact our lawyer at The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, PLLC immediately. We can swiftly assist you with filing a child support modification as well as discuss your options.
We are here to protect your rights. Call us today at (210) 775-2000 to set up a consultation with our team.