In Texas, when there is an order to pay child support, the employment situation will play a significant role in how much is to be paid. Given the fickle nature of the job market, it is not uncommon for a person to lose his or her job and experience a changed financial circumstance during the time they are paying or receiving child support. Job loss or making less money can be a challenge. It is important to understand how this can affect the payments and for how long.
The mere fact that a person’s job status has changed does not mean the child support does not need to be paid. There is an option that the case be subject to review by the Office of Attorney General (OAG) to decide how to proceed for everyone’s benefit. There might be a modification option. The person who lost the job or has a lower paying job should contact the OAG immediately to inform them what has happened.
The courts can make a change to the amount owed per month, but the payments must be up to date and in full until the change is made. People who are without income can have the amount modified based on previous employment, whether the person can work and the current minimum wage.
When the person has lost a job or has a new job with a lower salary, there can also be a modification to account for the reduction in income. This too requires a court order for a modification. If the person is between jobs and is looking for a new job, it is unusual for the courts to agree to modify child support. However, if the person is having a problem meeting the obligation, there might be ways to help until the person is on better financial ground. A key is to pay as much as possible during this time, even if it is not the full amount.
Child support modifications are often based on a certain amount of time passing or there being a disparity in the order from when it was made versus what it would be if it was a new order. Job loss or a reduction in income is also a reason for there to be a child support modification. For the custodial and noncustodial parent, this is a common concern that must be addressed.