My Ex-Spouse Has Lost Their Job And Can’t Pay Child Support, Can I Take Legal Action?

Helping You Is What We Do!


West Virginia Family Law Attorneys

The highly esteemed WV family law attorneys at Adams Legal Group, PLLC in Morgantown, WV encounter the situation frequently where the payor of child support stops or is unable to make their support payments. If you’re divorced and rely heavily on child support to run your home each month, not getting your support payments can be crippling. If you don’t get your payments on time, there’s certainly a course of legal action you can take. But what happens if your spouse has lost their job and that’s why they aren’t paying you child support?

How Child Support Is Calculated

When the child support agreement is worked out, it is determined based on consideration of the salaries and income of both you and your spouse as well as other sources of income from interest, social security benefits etc. If either partner is not working, the potential earning capacity and income estimate based on prior work history is calculated. So what happens if your ex loses their job and is no longer making the monthly payments they have committed to?

You Can Claim Arrears Or Get Compensated

Even if your ex is out of work, there are still ways for them to meet their child support obligations. For instance, it could be taken from their Unemployment Compensation. Workers compensation, social security benefits, and interest income are other means that could be tapped to make the payments.

By law, they still need to pay you the court-ordered amount until they put in a request for a modification/decrease. If they do not do this, however, not only will they have to pay you this child support as arrearage, but will also be liable to pay you interest to the extent they delay in giving you this money.

Legal Action You Can Take

If they still don’t make the payments, your family lawyer West Virginia relies on at Adams Legal Group, PLLC can help you build a strong case and help you file for criminal non-support. The BCSE(Bureau for Child Support Enforcement) in West Virginia(or similar authorities in other states) can also report them to the Credit Bureau, file a contempt motion, and have them sent to jail. For arrears of more than $2500 they may even have their passport revoked. Their assets may also be attached.

You Ex Can Request A Modification To The Child Support Terms Upon Loss Of A Job

A job loss is grounds for making a change to the terms of the child support they had agreed to with you. However, keep in mind that this is enforceable only if they have made a request to the BCSE in West Virginia (or similar authorities in other states) or the court directly or via an attorney. They will need to submit evidence of this reduced income or loss of their job that will prevent them from paying child support or require a reduction in the amount to be paid. The authorities/court must then sign off on the new terms. Any other verbal agreements are not legally binding.