Are you the parent of a child receiving child support? You may be worried about what would happen if you lost your job and couldn’t make your payments. You are not alone. This is a common concern.

Rest assured, options are available if you find yourself in this situation. The government understands that things can happen beyond our control. In this regard, governments with child custody lawyers have implemented programs like child maintenance services to help parents who struggle to make their child support payments.

This article will discuss the different programs available to you and what you need to do to apply for them. We’ll also provide some resources to help you get back on your feet.

What Is Child Support

Child support is a monthly payment made by one parent to the other to help cover the costs of raising a child. This includes food, clothing, shelter, education, and healthcare.

If you lose your job or can’t afford to make your child support payments, don’t panic. There are things you can do to help minimize the impact on your child. 

First, reach out to your child support agency and explain your situation. They can help you get on a payment plan or find other resources.

You can also talk to a child custody lawyer about your options. They will help you in the best possible way. Depending on your situation, you can apply for a modification of your child support order. This could mean that your payments are lowered or even waived altogether. 

However, it’s important to note that this is only sometimes possible and depends on various factors. Whatever you do, don’t ignore your child support obligations. Not only could you face legal consequences, but you could also be hurting your child financially.

How Is the Amount of Child Support Calculated

When it comes to child support, the amount is typically based on two factors: the paying parent’s income and the number of children. The court will review your financial situation and decide based on what would be fair and reasonable.

There are a few other things that can be taken into account, such as: 

  • Whether the paying parent has other children in his or her care,
  • Medical expenses, and 
  • Any special needs of the child. 

If you can’t afford to pay the full amount, don’t worry. The court can work with you to create a payment plan that you can afford. If you’re worried about losing your job and not being able to make your child support payments, you can always ask the court to modify your order. 

This means that you would need to show the court that your financial situation has changed and that you can’t afford to make the same payments you were previously making. The court will then look at your new situation and determine whether or not to modify the order.

Changing the Amount of Child Support

If you lose your job and can’t afford to pay the child support you agreed to, you can ask the court to change the amount. This is done by filing a Motion to Modify Child Support.

The court will look at a few factors when deciding if it will change the child support amount. These factors are:

  • The current financial situation of both parents.
  • The needs of the child.
  • The standard of living the child would have had if the parents had stayed together.
  • Each parent makes child support payments.

What if I Lose My Job and Can’t Pay

Many states offer temporary assistance if you’ve lost your job and can’t make a payment. For example, some states may allow for a modification that temporarily reduces the amount of money owed. 

This process may require an update to the existing agreement, so it’s important to talk to a professional before making any decisions.

Also, consider applying for unemployment insurance benefits, as this could provide additional income during this difficult time. If all else fails, consult with an attorney specializing in family law to review your options and help find a solution that works for everyone involved.

Penalties for Not Paying

When it comes to the consequences of falling behind on your payments, the penalties can be serious. Depending on your state’s laws, failure to pay child support can result in a variety of actions taken against you:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Denial of passport renewal or issuance
  • Placement of liens on property or assets
  • Suspension of professional or occupational licenses
  • Contempt of court charges
  • Violations can result in imprisonment for up to six months

These consequences aren’t just theoretical. They have been applied in various cases across the United States. In some states, an arrest warrant could be issued if you fail to make child support payments for more than three months. This means you can end up spending time in prison for failing to keep up with your payments.

How a Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer Can Help

If you cannot work out an agreement with your ex-spouse, it might be time to enlist the help of a divorce and child custody lawyer. An attorney can help you understand your rights and responsibilities regarding paying child support. 

In addition, they can also help you to seek a modification or even get a temporary restraining order if needed.

Your child custody lawyer will know any state or federal laws that could affect your case. They could also advise you on any other actions that could be taken to ensure child support payments are made. This includes filing for unemployment benefits or seeking legal assistance for career retraining and/or job placement. 

Ultimately, having a skilled legal professional on your side can give you more confidence in navigating this difficult situation.


Knowing your rights and getting in touch with child support or child custody lawyer if you find yourself in this situation is essential. Staying current on payments is also critical since falling behind can have serious consequences. 

If you lose your job or have some other change in income, you’ll need to let the court know as soon as possible. The court may modify your child support payments if your income has changed. You’ll need proof of your new income, such as pay stubs or tax returns.

You could face serious penalties if you fall behind on child support payments. The court could garnish your wages, put a lien on your property, suspend your driver’s license, or even put you in jail. So it’s important to stay current on your payments.

If you have questions about your rights or responsibilities regarding child support, be sure to talk to a child support attorney.