I lost my job. Do I still have to pay child support?
In this difficult economy, many New Hampshire residents who pay child support have lost their jobs. If you have become unemployed and were previously ordered to pay child support, you unfortunately cannot just “stop paying” because you no longer have employment income. To remedy this situation, you will need a “modification” to your child support – which will allow you to legally change the terms of your child support obligation. Losing a job isn’t easy. But taking the right steps and bringing a family law attorney on board to help you reduce your child support obligation is critical. If you live in New Hampshire and have lost your job, outlined below are the four steps unemployed New Hampshire moms and dads should take to get a child support “modification.”
How to Change Child Support if You Lost Your Job – Step 1:
Schedule a meeting with a trusted and experienced divorce attorney. Explain your reasons for seeking a child support modification. Ask the divorce lawyer the likelihood of the court granting the change you want.
How to Change Child Support if You Lost Your Job – Step 2:
If the divorce attorney advises you to go forward with the child support modification and you feel comfortable with that lawyer’s approach, hire him or her to represent you. The attorney will draft and file a “Petition to Change Court Order” with the New Hampshire Circuit Court – Family Division based on where you reside. Circuit Court locations include Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Goffstown, Merrimack, Hooksett, Franklin, Hillsborough, Derry, Brentwood, and Salem. The court will process the Petition and notify both parents of a hearing date.
How to Change Child Support if You Lost Your Job – Step 3:
Meet with your divorce attorney to help prepare for the child support hearing. Prior to the hearing, your attorney will receive financial documents from “the other side” that will help both of you prepare. As always, the more transparent you can be in sharing all documentation and evidence with your family law attorney, the better you will position yourself to have your most successful outcome.
How to Change Child Support if You Lost Your Job – Step 4:
Attend the child support hearing with your lawyer. What should you expect to happen in court? Typically, your attorney will have about 15 minutes to present to the court your proposal for changing child support. Your attorney will outline the explicit reasons and justifications for why you need your previous child support order “modified.” If you are successfully able to support your request with evidence and financial documents, the judge will modify the terms of your child support. Upon conclusion, you will receive a new child support order issued by the court within weeks (and if the court is backed up perhaps months) after the hearing.