If you lose your job, that does not eliminate your legal obligation to pay court-ordered child support payments. However, you can petition the family court to reduce child support payments after becoming unemployed in California. 

You must work quickly to file the motion with the court and get the matter heard by a judge because child modifications are not retroactive. That means you must continue paying the full child support payments until the court enters a modification order. Otherwise, you will have child support arrears that could result in collection efforts and court sanctions.

What if My Child’s Other Parent Agrees To Reduce or Suspend My Child Support Payments Until I Can Find Another Job

An agreement with your ex-partner is not legally binding. Even though they might agree to let you stop making child support payments after losing your job, the court continues to hold you liable for each payment. 

The state can enforce the child support order, which could result in garnishments, liens, and other collection efforts. Your ex-partner could change their mind and pursue collection efforts. For these reasons, it is better to go through the family court to modify your child support payments.

Will the Court Stop Child Support Payments in California if I Loss My Job?

It is unlikely that the court will completely stop your child support payments if you become unemployed. The judge might instead reduce your child support payments while you search for a new job. 

When you obtain a new job, the court will recalculate your child support payments based on your new income. If your income is less than what you earned before your job loss, your new child support payments could be reduced until you have another change in pay. 

However, if your ex can prove that you purposefully took a lower-paying job, the court could take that into consideration when calculating your new child support payments.

How Does Child Support Modification Work in California?

Either parent can petition the court to modify child support payments. Common reasons for requesting a change in child support obligations include, but are not limited to:

  • A substantial change in either parent’s income, including job loss, demotions, promotions, reduced work hours, a new job, raises, and more
  • A parent’s illness, injury, or disability that impacts their income
  • Changes in the child’s education, health care, or childcare needs
  • A parent is deployed in the military
  • A parent is incarcerated
  • The visitation or custody arrangement changes that result in the other parent spending more time with the child
  • The birth or adoption of another child

The court must find that the change in circumstances is substantial to justify modifying child support payments. Therefore, you need to provide evidence proving the change in income. Financial information the court might require includes, but is not limited to:

  • Current income, including copies of your current pay stubs
  • Childcare expenses, including the cost of daycare and how many hours you work each week
  • Rent and housing costs, including utilities and other costs
  • Medical expenses
  • Unemployment benefits and/or workers’ compensation benefits
  • Tax returns, income statements, 1099s, business income statements, and other similar documents.
  • How you and your child’s other parent have been splitting time with your child since the original custody order was issued

The best way to know if your circumstances justify a modification of child support is to consult a San Diego child support attorney to discuss your situation.

How Do Courts Calculate Child Support Payments in San Diego, CA?

California uses a child support calculator to determine the child support obligations of each parent. The standard child support formula uses the following information to calculate child support payments:

  • The number of children to be supported
  • The time each parent spends with the children
  • The tax filing status for the parents
  • The parent’s monthly income 
  • Monthly deductions for spousal support, other child support paid, property tax, mortgage interest, Qualified Business Income, and more
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Mandatory and voluntary retirement contributions
  • Other itemized and tax deductions
  • Extraordinary health and catastrophic losses

Even though the state provides a child support calculator, calculating child support is not always straightforward. When determining child support payments, judges can consider any factors relevant to the child’s needs and the parent’s ability to pay. Therefore, the judge could deviate from the standard child support formula.

As a result, legal advice can help ensure your child support obligation is reasonable and within the legal requirements for child support payments. An attorney can also help if you suspect your ex-partner is concealing income or resources to avoid paying their share of child support. 

Contact Our Family Law Firm in San Diego, CA

Contact our experienced San Diego family law lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC today for legal assistance. Contact our San Diego office at (619) 866-3756 to schedule a free consultation.

San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108