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Do I Have To Pay Child Support If I Have No Income?

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Hard-working, divorced fathers who have endured difficult times financially often ask the same question: Do I have to pay child support if I have little or no income? It’s a bit like the bank penalizing you with interest when they know that you have no money in your account – adding insult to injury. 

In the aftermath of COVID-19 and a dim economic outlook, divorced dads who have lost their jobs are struggling to maintain their current child support obligations. If you have fallen behind on your child support payments, or if you anticipate that losing your job will soon result in the same, then Divorce Lawyers For Men is here to help. But, moving forward, there are certain things you should do and certain things you should not.  

What Not To Do If You’re Behind On Child Support Payments 

The weight of losing a job or being unable to provide for your children can weigh heavy on any man. You may be asking yourself the question: If I don’t have a job, how do I pay child support? Actively avoiding your circumstance only delays the inevitable, so doing nothing is not the right option. Start by speaking to people you trust so that you can explore your options.  

A court-ordered child support agreement remains in place, regardless of global pandemics or a national recession. Do not attempt to informally change your child support order with your ex-wife. Regardless of any deal you may strike verbally or otherwise, in the eyes of a court, this is not legally binding and you may be liable to pay what is overdue, plus interest at 10% per year.  An exception might be an agreement reached in a formal mediation.   

Be very cautious of paying cash or making partial or random payments as and when you can, or trading or bartering with your ex in lieu of a scheduled payment.  It is important to keep accurate and complete records of all transactions.  Also, keep records of communications with your ex that confirm agreements outside of any court orders.  Otherwise, these activities might also land you in more trouble further down the line. 

What To Do If You’re Behind Child Support Payments 

Apply to the courts to modify your child support order. Consider this the starting point for acknowledging a change of financial circumstance. Even if your case doesn’t get heard right away, at least you’ve got the ball rolling.  

So, if you’re wondering, how does child support work if the father has no job? The short answer is that the courts are likely to look more favorably on a father who is making reasonable efforts to find a new job or improve his earnings.  However, every parent is likely to be “imputed” an income for the purposes of the child support formula, even if they do not have a current income stream.    

Imputed income is the formula used by most courts when determining a child support amount. This is because often, parents will lowball the amount that they earn in an attempt to pay less child support. In addition, other financial considerations are taken into account, such as income from stocks or bonds and benefits such as unemployment, health insurance, worker’s compensation and disability benefits.  

The child’s best interests – as determined by a court of law – are always upheld. Even unemployment checks due to you can be diverted to the other parent in the interests of maintaining a preexisting child support court order and doing what is best for the child.  

So now is the time to carefully consider any other revenue streams that would qualify as imputed income. Fulfilling your financial and legal obligation to support your child remains your primary focus. Cashing in any investment policies you may have might be a necessary stopgap.  

Contact Divorce Lawyers For Men 

Lastly, know that you’re not alone. Seek out legal guidance from someone you can trust. At Divorce Lawyers For Men, we understand what it’s like to fight for custody and then have to keep up with child support payments. With your child’s well-being at hand, the stakes are high, but the fight is worth it.  

We offer a 30-minute consultation if you need further advice on how to pay child support when you have no income.  

Contact us now for top-tier representation in your Child Support Modification Application. 

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