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Steps for dealing with child support after a job loss

The loss of a job triggers many financial concerns. For parents in Missouri who pay child support, sudden unemployment can lead to worries about complying with court orders in addition to other monthly bills. Unemployment does not alter or postpone the requirements set by the court for supporting children.

The first step for a recently jobless parent should be applying for unemployment benefits. It's important to inform the unemployment office about the child support order right away. The state agency will then deduct the support directly from the unemployment checks.

When someone cannot collect unemployment benefits, the other parent and the family court should be notified about the problem. The parent should document ongoing efforts to get a new job and pay child support directly to the court until landing a new job. After finding employment, the family court could resume taking the money from a paycheck. Missed payments while unemployed could cause the court to raise payment amounts until the unpaid portion has been recovered.

A job loss often impacts health insurance for children as well. Although COBRA insurance is available to people after they become unemployed, the cost is often prohibitive. A person could ask the other parent to place children on a health plan. If that is not an option, then the children might qualify for federally funded coverage.

Unpaid child support will add up quickly when a person experiences financial difficulties. To avoid or limit court penalties, a person could seek help from an attorney familiar with family law and child custody. An attorney might recommend petitioning a court to modify the support order. Court filings prepared by an attorney could document the person's new income level and request a reduction in child support payments.

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230 S. Bemiston, Suite 440
Clayton, MO 63105

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