I Lost My Job, What If I Can’t Afford Child Support?

A man who just lost his job carrying his items out of the office

A Scary Financial Situation

Losing your job is already a frightening scenario, as the income you relied on is being cut off. However, those who have child support obligations may feel even more overwhelmed when newly unemployed. What happens if you lose your job and have trouble affording your child support payments? Here are some things to keep in mind.

Modifying Your Child Support Order

Paying child support is not optional; if you have an order in place, then you must maintain regular child support payments. However, a significant change in material circumstances such as through unemployment may warrant seeking a change to your child support order through what is known as modification.

The state of Oregon allows either parent to seek a modification to an existing child support order if significant changes to one’s material circumstances have occurred, and unemployment is a situation that meets this requirement. Normally, one parent submits a written request to modify the child support order, which is then received by the Oregon Child Support Program (OCSP). The OCSP then notifies the other parent of the modification request and creates a proposed modification to the order.

How Long Does the Order Last?

A modification based on employment lasts for approximately six months. This length of time is provided to the parent in order to allow them to look for and secure a new job. If the parent has not yet found a job by the time this allotted time passes, they may request another modification to increase the time to find employment. If a parent is able to secure employment during this time, they must notify the child support office that approved the modification immediately to determine if the child support amount can increase back to its original amount.

How Long Does the Process Take?

When a proposed modification is received, parents may agree to the terms of the proposal, change information in the proposal, or request a court hearing. Because of the potential back-and-forth nature of proposing these changes, a modification case may take an average of 90-120 days to complete; however, family circumstances may mean the process can be completed sooner.

Use the Help of an Oregon Attorney

Because modification cases can be complicated and take time, it’s important to get it right the first time. In order to do this, it is wise to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you secure the modification that you need. At Levine Law Center LLC, we know that change can lead to feelings of fear and uncertainty. We are here to help you navigate these unsettling waters to help you land on safer shores.

To schedule a consultation, call us at (503) 433-8340 or visit us online.