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Quick Answer:

Do I have to pay child support after losing my job?

It is an unfortunate fact of life that we can lose our job and source of income at any time and through no fault of our own. That occurrence, however, does not relieve us of our legal duty to support our children financially. While you’re looking for work and applying for unemployment, immediately contact your ex about this untimely disaster, and, if applicable, schedule a support reduction hearing with the Court system.

The law requires that parents support their children (and, until divorced, their spouses). Naturally, all good parents want to provide for their kids as well as they possibly can. Unfortunately, not all parents are good parents. In my legal practice’s experience, most divorcing parents work out support arrangements without involving the Court and a wage attachment. To do so, people should do an internet search for the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines.

Once you’re there, avoid the temptation to go directly to the charts without reading the instructions on how to use the charts. Those instructions, while perhaps a little long and tedious, are not too difficult to follow and will help you avoid asking for too little (or too much) support.

The recommended amount places heavy consideration on the incomes of each parent. Over time, incomes can go up or down…or be lost completely, permanently or temporarily. Losing one’s job and source of income is devastating. If you have no money coming in but still have bills, including child support, what should you do?

First, alert your spouse (or ex) of what has happened and have proof that it has. Try to work it out. Refer back to the guidelines for the best information. If you had been spending money on truly unnecessary items or activities, you may have to curtail that spending. The Court would order you to do so. If you are paying support through the Court system, immediately schedule a reduction hearing. Do not delay as hearings can take quite some time to be set up.