If I were your child support lawyer, and you are the parent paying the child support, I would immediately file a motion with the court to modify the child support to reduce the obligation. I would do that very quickly because the date that child support modification goes into effect is the date that you’ve filed your motions. You don’t want delay for a month or two, negotiating, or trying to work on things. You want to get a motion on file immediately.
Then we will talk to the other side to see whether they will agree to the reduction and present it with our calculations. If they don’t agree, it goes to the judge, and then normally a hearing will be set for about four to six weeks from the time you filed the motion. At that point, you have that time to try to negotiate to exchange financial documents and see if you can work out an agreement.
The mistake many people make when they lose their jobs, or something drastic happens financially, is they just let time go by thinking they can work something out. Or, maybe the spouse says, “that’s ok, don’t worry about it for now,” and then, later on, they ask for all the money back. So, it’s very important to meet with an experienced child support lawyer and immediately get something on file with the court to establish the date the change is going to go into effect.
When you lose the ability to pay, but don’t take care of the legal piece of it, you’ll still have to pay the original support amount until you get it changed, and you may be held liable retroactively. It is best to get help from a qualified attorney as soon as possible.