Unemployed in Colorado: Revisiting the Child Support Order

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a worldwide impact. Here in the United States, it’s affected certain industries more than others. Some of the industries that took the hardest hit include retail, travel, tourism, dining, hospitality, and the airline industry to name a few. As such, many Americans who were working in these industries across Denver, the rest of Colorado, and the nation are finding themselves out of work.

If your job was directly impacted by COVID-19 or if you’re unemployed for another reason and you pay child support, it’s important to consider revisiting your current child support order, especially if there has been a significant change in your financial circumstances since the order was issued by the court.

What Happens When You Skip Payments

Let’s say you were laid off because you work in one of the industries affected by the coronavirus pandemic. You’re searching for a job now or seriously considering finding a job in a different field. You may have to start at the bottom and take a pay cut, or you may have to attend a local technical college to obtain new job skills.

Regardless of the path you choose, you don’t have any income rolling in the door presently, therefore, you don’t have the funds required to pay child support. What happens if you skip payments? First off, it’s important that you’re aware that a noncustodial parent’s obligation to pay child support does not end because of unemployment, disability, severe mental illness, or even incarceration.

The only thing that relieves that liability is the termination of parental rights. That said, if you stop paying because you lost your job, you could face a myriad of negative enforcement measures from the local child support office, including:

  • Driver license suspension
  • Business license suspension
  • Suspension of your recreational licenses (e.g. hunting and fishing)
  • U.S. passport denial (if arrears reach $2,500 or more)
  • Real estate liens
  • Bank account seizures (this includes joint accounts)
  • Tax refund intercept
  • Credit reporting
  • Contempt of court

To avoid any of the above tactics being used against you, our advice is to contact our firm and petition the court for a downward modification. Since child support is not retroactive, you want to do this immediately. Otherwise, the child support will continue to accrue. The only way to change your monthly obligation is to have the court issue a new order, one which reflects your current financial circumstances.

Next: How Child Support Arrears Can Impact Your New Marriage