I Lost My Job: What if I Cannot Afford Child Support?
01 June 2023IN: Child Custody
What to do if you cannot afford child support payments in Tennessee:
If you are responsible for child support payments but just lost your job, you are likely frightened and concerned, wondering if you could possibly go to jail because you are unable to make the payments. However, a Tennessee family law attorney can help you follow a number of steps to ensure that you are doing everything that you can to comply with the law.
First and foremost, it is important to let the child’s other parent know of your employment circumstances and to get in touch with the child support enforcement agency to explain the circumstances and, with assistance from your attorney, potentially seek to temporarily modify your child support payments while you are seeking employment or modify your child support payments based upon your new employment. In addition, your attorney may be able to look over your financials and find ways to free up funds to help make some of the modified child support payments.
How Tennessee Calculates Child Support
Tennessee relies upon both parents’ adjusted gross income and looks to a percentage of that to calculate the basic child support obligation as the total amount needed to financially support the child. The court then orders one parent to pay a portion of this obligation, depending upon a number of factors, such as:
- How much time each parent spends with the child
- Medical insurance/costs for the child
- Any work-related childcare expenses
- Any specific special needs for the child
- Other expenses that come from the parent’s income, such as other child support payments, self-employment taxes, benefits, etc.
- Child support obligations for other children
- Credits for qualified in-home children
- Any other factor necessary to consider in the best interests of the child
If a parent experiences a change in income or loses their job (outside of being willfully un- or underemployed), the courts can modify child support payments. However, in the case of parents being voluntarily under- or unemployed or refusing to provide proof of income to the court, it will calculate what is called imputed income, whereby parents are still expected to pay a portion of child support payments based on their earning capacity. This is calculated based on a number of factors, such as:
- Ability to work
- Employment history
- Education and job training
- Any current job training that could benefit the child
- Whether the child support-paying parent has any other caretaking responsibilities, such as caring for other family members
Murfreesboro & Rutherford County Tennessee Family Law and Child Support Attorney
The Law Office of David L. Scott represents both pay and payee parents, helping them work through the best possible scenario for themselves and their families. We have been helping parents and their families work through difficult circumstances like these since 1996, and we are here to help. Get in touch with our office today to find out how we can help you.