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What should you know about unemployment and child support?

Divorced parents in Alabama are required to work together to ensure that the needs of their children are met. It’s fair to wonder what could happen with child support if one parent loses their job and goes on unemployment.

Unemployment benefits and child support

If a parent has a child support order in place and is required to pay their former spouse, their obligation does not end just because they lose their job. That means that if they begin collecting unemployment benefits while out of work the court would still expect them to continue paying. Not doing so could result in criminal penalties that might even include jail time.

A parent applying for unemployment benefits should immediately inform the unemployment office that they have a child support obligation. They could have an amount of their unemployment benefits automatically deducted. The individual should search for new employment and keep records to prove their diligence. They must also stay in contact with their former spouse and let them know about the situation.

If the child relied on health insurance from the unemployed parent’s policy, the parent might continue getting those benefits through COBRA. However, this is only advised if it’s affordable. It’s also a temporary option.

Modifications to the child support order

When the noncustodial parent becomes unemployed, the court will often temporarily modify the amount to be paid toward child support until they find a new job. However, this is only done when the individual has been let go from their position. If they voluntarily quit their job, the court will not typically be sympathetic.

If a parent is facing difficult financial times after losing their job, they should take immediate steps to request a temporary modification of the child support order. It could help to prevent potentially becoming delinquent on payments.

Parents should continue supporting their children financially even after losing their employment.


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