Divorce, Family Law

Modifying Alimony or Child Support in Unemployment

Child support is a payment a parent provides for the protection and well-being of their child. Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a court-ordered payment that provides for your ex-spouse’s financial needs. Many individuals are ordered to pay both forms of support in their divorce agreement.

Unfortunately, hundreds of ex-spouses and parents are not in the financial position they were when child support or spousal support was first ordered. When the economy took a dive in 2008, people faced financial challenges. Their income decreased or they were jobless for long periods of time. With the recent pandemic, a lot of people are now asking the same questions about what to do if they’re unemployed for a long period of time. Like many others, you may be wondering how you modify your child support or alimony payments.

Reducing Your Child Support or Alimony

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to reduce your child support. There are a number of reasons for this, but perhaps the most important is that child support is necessary to protect and provide for your child. Much like alimony that is set aside for your ex-spouse, child support is intentionally collected for the benefit of your child. Thus, those payments are not going to be reduced without some pretty extreme circumstances.

Similarly, alimony is meant to provide for your ex-spouse, who was likely in a financially dependent position during your divorce. Alimony may be easier to modify, especially if your spouse has moved in with someone new, went back to school, or has a new job. However, you should talk to a lawyer about modifying either form of support to ensure you have a case to bring to the court.

What the Court Will Consider to Modify Your Alimony or Child Support

If you need to reduce your spousal or child support because of unemployment, the court will take a look at your financial situation before making any decisions. They’ll look to see if you have any of the following:

  • Other assets available
  • Money in retirement accounts
  • Investments in savings or stocks and bonds

The court will look at these sources of income and savings to see if you can make your child support or alimony payments with them. They’ll do this before ever reducing your payments.

In other words, if you have any of these investments, you may find it difficult to convince the court you need your child support or alimony payments reduced. Still, if you lost your job or are struggling to get by week-to-week, it’s possible to convince the court that your unemployment is affecting your ability to pay.

Contact a Divorce or Custody Lawyer for Help

When you’re facing unemployment and child support or alimony payments, contact a divorce or custody lawyer. A lawyer can walk you through your situation and help you analyze your current financial state. They’ll also help you build a case for your inability to pay, possibly resulting in the court reducing your support or alimony payments.

As an Austin, Texas divorce and custody lawyer, I’ll share more insider information with you soon on other topics I think you’ll find useful. If you’re interested in learning more about divorce or custody cases, I highly recommend going to Amazon or other booksellers and checking out my book, The Custody Lawyer.  

If you would like to speak with someone regarding your specific divorce or custody situation, call us at the Law Office of Janet McCullar, PC at (512) 342-9933 for a completely confidential consultation.

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