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If you get fired, can you stop paying child support?

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2024 | Family Law |

You were ordered to pay child support during your divorce a few years ago. At the time, the court looked at your income when determining how much monthly support you needed to pay. You had a relatively high-paying job, especially compared to your ex, so the monthly payments are fairly high.

But you recently lost that job. Perhaps you have no source of income at all now that you’re unemployed, or maybe you took another job that pays less, so your monthly income has been reduced. The child support payments are no longer affordable for you. Can you just quit making them?

You need to modify the court order

No, you cannot simply stop paying. The court order still stands. You need to continue to make child support payments as ordered. In some cases, even making partial payments shows that you’re making a good-faith effort, despite the financial challenges you face.

That said, you can ask the court for a modification. If your income is going to be different long-term, the court may lower the child support payments moving forward.

The important thing to remember is just that you need to have this modification officially made first — before you change the amount that you pay. Things have to be done in the correct order. That’s why it is so important to start the legal process immediately. 

The proper legal steps

As you can see, it’s important not to do this on your own and risk violating a standing order. Make sure you know exactly what legal steps you need to take and what options you have if there is a dispute.