Will Unemployment Affect Child Support?
The pandemic has hit every Floridian in one way or another, and many are still struggling to find work after losing their job or their business at the height of the crisis. Unemployment does not only make it difficult for individuals to meet their daily needs, but many people are also required to pay child support. Once a person is no longer employed, they then wonder how they will meet that financial obligation, as well.
Joblessness can certainly affect child support, but it is important people take the appropriate steps before they stop making payments, or reduce the amount they pay. Otherwise, they may face harsh penalties.
How is Child Support Paid After You Lose Your Job?
Child support is often garnished from a person’s paycheck either through an Income Withholding Order or an Income Deduction Order. Many people think that when they lose their job, they no longer have to pay child support because they no longer have a paycheck. Unfortunately, that is not the way it works. If you receive unemployment benefits, the child support will be deducted from your unemployment check.
Regardless of your employment situation, it likely will not impact child support obligations. Although a lower income can result in a modification that allows you to pay less, it likely will not eliminate the obligation altogether. All parents throughout Florida are expected to financially support their children until the child is at least 18 years old.
Imputed Income and Child Support
There are times when people try to manipulate the child support system to reduce the amount they are required to pay. This does not work. When the courts suspect that someone has gone to lengths such as quitting their job just to avoid paying child support, they will use imputed income to determine how much a person must pay.
Imputed income is essentially how much a person could reasonably pay if they earned an income. The minimum amount of imputed income is usually the minimum wage in the state, which is currently $10.00 an hour. However, there are times when imputed income is determined to be much higher. For example, if a doctor closed their practice soon after a divorce, their imputed income would be much higher than minimum wage.
Penalties for Failing to Pay Child Support
Unemployment can make a difficult situation even more challenging. Still, it is important that all parents continue paying any child support a court has ordered them to. Failure to do so will result in very serious penalties. If you do not pay the proper amount of support, you may have to pay the entire amount owed all at once, you may lose your driver’s license, and you might even face jail time. If you cannot pay the full amount of support, you must petition the court to modify the court order to reflect a smaller amount.
Our Family Lawyer in Orlando Can Help with Your Child Support Issues
If you are having trouble with your child support obligation, our Orlando family lawyer at O’Mara Law Group can help. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and to obtain the sound legal advice you need.