How is Child Support Modified if My Ex Loses Their Job?
Florida’s job market is in a constant state of flux. During any given month, certain industries lose jobs while others gain them. During a four-month period in 2022, Florida lost 1.28 million jobs before gaining back several hundred thousand over the next few months while readjusting to a post-COVID economy. Like many states, Florida is experiencing a major shift toward remote and hybrid work. Job cuts are on the horizon as the Sunshine State heads into an uncertain economic future. Add generative AI, self-driving vehicles, and robotics into the equation, and it is clear that Florida’s job market is set for a turbulent few years. These factors may cause your spouse or your ex to lose their job. But how will this affect your child support in Stuart?
When Can My Ex Modify Their Child Support Agreement?
A parent can only modify their child support in specific situations. They cannot simply lower their payments on a whim, and only “material changes in circumstances” may allow them to modify child support. Generally speaking, these changes in circumstance must involve financial matters. One potential example is the termination of employment – but there are many other possibilities. These include retirement, disability, having another child, and more.
Not All Terminations Can Lead to Modification
Each modification of child support must be examined closely by family courts in Florida. Simply getting fired from a job will not necessarily lead to the cessation or even the reduction of child support payments. Courts will likely attempt to assess the spouse’s “employability” in the future. Does their termination represent the end of a career they worked several decades to establish? Or is it simply part of the natural ebb and flow of the job market – something that all employees should expect from time to time?
The court may ask whether the spouse actually attempted to find new employment after their termination. Did they throw their hands up in the air after getting fired – giving up entirely on any possibility of a new chapter of their career? Or have they spent months sending our resumes, attending interviews, and networking? If they have made a concerted effort to find new employment and they are seriously struggling to generate any results, the court may consider the possibility of lowering their child support obligations.
They might also consider the spouse’s level of wealth – including their emergency savings, any inheritance they have received, and their income-generating investments. As a general rule, family courts will not bankrupt a spouse while forcing them to continue making untenable child support payments. This serves no one’s interests – as a destitute parent cannot provide for their children. The worst-case scenario is that the spouse becomes homeless and never recovers from this financial shock. You should know that it is in your best interests to avoid this scenario, as it will make any future support payments increasingly unlikely. In other words, you should give your spouse time to recover.
There are genuine situations in which termination could end a spouse’s career – forcing them to take lower-paying work or spend years gaining new qualifications. For example, truckers might eventually be completely replaced by self-driving software. Factory workers have already been replaced by increasingly sophisticated robotics. Certain jobs may be outsourced to nations with lower wages – leaving workers in the United States without any real prospects. These are all genuine possibilities for workers in Florida, especially as technology continues to advance at a breakneck pace.
You Will Still Likely Receive At Least Some Level of Support
Even if your spouse is forced to take a low-paying job after their career comes to an abrupt end, they will still have to make at least some contribution to their children. A family court may dramatically lower a spouse’s child support obligations, but they will almost never eliminate them entirely. As long as your spouse is earning something, they will need to provide you with a portion of their paycheck.
Find a Qualified Child Custody Attorney in Stuart
If you have been searching for a child custody attorney in Stuart, look no further than the Law Office of Denise Miller, PA. With our help, you can approach the possibility of losing child support in a confident manner. While your ex’s loss of employment may affect your child support in some situations, there are no guarantees. Simply getting fired may not be enough to allow your ex to cease making payments. Each child custody modification is slightly different, and it is best to discuss your unique circumstances alongside a qualified attorney. Reach out today to get started with an effective action plan.