Do Unemployed Parents Still Have to Pay Child Support?

November 3, 2020

child support

Family law issues can be delicate. The laws are complex and emotions can run high. This is especially true when it comes to child custody and support issues. Parents frequently ask about the rules for paying child support because each case is different. One concern, especially during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, is whether or not an unemployed parent is still required to pay child support. It is important to remember that child support is a legal obligation, so there are not many exceptions.

Why Do Separated Parents Have to Pay Child Support?

Once a person becomes a parent, they are legally responsible for the child until they are 18 years old. It does not matter if the parents are married, divorced, or separated. The nature of the relationship between mother and father has no real impact on the requirement for support because child support is based on the needs of the child. Child support is both a legal and family matter, and navigating the two can be challenging. It is generally a good idea to become familiar with the legal process behind it.

How is Child Support Determined?

Specifics of child support procedures can vary considerably from one state to another, but some aspects are universal. Most notably, child support is typically determined by the courts as a way to ensure that the non-custodial parent contributes their share to care for the child. The basic principle is that if both parents live together, they both contribute to caring for the child, and living separately does not remove their responsibility as a parent.

What Happens if a Parent Does Not Pay Child Support?

Failure to pay child support is far from uncommon, but it is still a serious matter. Parents who choose to not make their support payments take significant legal risks in doing so. When a parent is ordered to pay child support and fails to do so, they may face various forms of enforcement. This can include wage garnishment, adverse legal judgements, and, in some cases, even jail.

Employment status does not change the parental obligation when it comes to providing support, however, there are avenues for people who find themselves out of work. Unemployed parents may petition the court to modify their payment agreement. To alter the payment schedule, the modification must be approved by the court, and the parent is still obligated to make scheduled payments until then. A petition to alter a payment agreement must show a material change in circumstances that prevent the parent from keeping up with their payments. Essentially, this means that it is possible to have the court alter a child support agreement in times of specific need. The court will not, however, modify orders for child support simply because the parent disagrees with them. If a parent wishes to make changes to an existing child support agreement, they should contact a lawyer.

Moorestown Child Support Lawyers at Stockton Family Law Help Parents with Child Support Modifications

A parent has a legal obligation to support their child. If you wish to make a child support modification, contact one of our Moorestown child support lawyers at Stockton Family Law today. Complete our online form or call us at 856-412-5052 for an initial consultation. Located in Moorestown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Mount Laurel, Burlington County, and Camden County.