If you have children and are getting divorced, you and your spouse will have to formulate a parenting plan that addresses where the child will live, who will pay child support payments, and how much child support the ex should be paying. If you are not in agreement, a judge will make the decisions regarding both for you. If a judge orders you to pay child support payments, you must make them in order to be in compliance with the law.

What if I Lose My Job?

If a judge orders you to make monthly child support payments, and you then lose your job, you will still be responsible for making the payments regardless of your unemployment status. Child support and unemployment are not mutually exclusive. The only way that your unemployment and child support order will be modified is if you file a petition for modification with the court. The court must then grant the request.

How Do I Pay Child Support if I’m Unemployed?

If you’re unemployed, the Washington State Department of Child Services will take action to recover child support payment from you, even if you don’t have a work-based income.

According to WashingtonLawHelp.org, the Department of Child services can garnish wages from the following.

  • Unemployment compensation
  • Labor and Industry payments
  • Certain Social Security payments
  • Bank accounts

How Can I Have My Child Support Order Modified?

If you are unable to make your child support payments in full and need the order to be changed then you can file a Petition for Child Support Modification, the form of which can be downloaded from the Washington Courts’ webpage. You normally can't change a court order regarding a parenting or child support plan.

Washington law 26.09.260 explicitly states that modification cannot be made unless “a substantial change has occurred,” and if the modification would be “in the best interests of the child.” An attorney can help you understand how to file a court order to have a child support order changed. However, until a judge has approved the order, it is essential that you continue making your child support payments.

Seek Legal Counsel if You Need Help with Your Child Support Order

Understanding how you’ll pay child support if unemployed is a valid worry and one that the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny can help you to resolve. To ensure that you’re acting within the law, it’s important that you seek the guidance of a legal professional. Our family law attorneys can help you to modify an existing child support order, or guide you through the process of recovering unpaid child support payments. To learn more about how we can help you today, contact us now at 425-460-0550

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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