Responsible parents often work their budgets so that they can make timely child support payments. Unfortunately, economic factors may cause budgetary problems that affect many areas of a parent’s life. Job losses in Virginia and subsequent unemployment could impact a non-custodial parent’s finances severely. Such parents need to realize that child support responsibilities remain in effect even when a parent loses his or her job.

That said, there are steps a parent can take when dealing with unemployment. Those eligible for unemployment benefits may sign up for such payments and request that the unemployment office take money out for child support. Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for unemployment benefits. Independent contractors, for example, would not be able to file claims.

Not making payments without notifying the court could prove disastrous. People have been arrested for failure to pay child support. The court could hold the parent in contempt.

A non-custodial parent who suffers from financial hardship might petition the court for reduced child support payments. For example, someone who goes from an $80,000 per year job to no income may find that the court adjusts child support based on current income levels. The court might consider financial hardships and alter the payment amount. Requesting modifications involves a formal court process, so the non-custodial parent might take a risk when reducing monthly payments without notifying the court of the situation.

It’s important to be aware that walking away from a job due to discontent is not the same as suffering from a layoff or wrongful termination. The courts could require a parent who quits his or her job to continue to pay the full child support amount. Parents should also weigh the costs of providing health care for a child. Likely, the parent faces requirements to cover health insurance. Losing family health insurance due to quitting might lead to the parent being required to purchase insurance for the child.

Family law statutes surrounding child support may prove confusing to someone who loses his or her job. Speaking with an attorney may lead to clarification and representation through the process of requesting a modification.