Question: If the wife is unemployed and the husband loses his job while under the court order to pay child support and maintenance, what will happen?
Would he still have to pay child support and maintenance even if he can’t find another job?
Although I am licensed to practice law in Michigan, Cordell & Cordell has many attorneys in Colorado, and I strongly encourage you to consult with an attorney in your state because I can only give you general information. You should not rely upon this information as creating an attorney-client relationship, and you should seek counsel in your area for further instructions and suggestions within the parameters of the laws of your state.
That being said, there are common themes in child support cases among states, one of which is that child support is usually modifiable if a parent loses his job. However, the court may impute income, such as minimum wage, or may determine that he is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed and impute more. The imputation criteria vary by state.
Unfortunately, your situation is not unique – with our downtrodden economy, I see more and more cases of parents struggling to pay child support when they lose their job. Each case is unique, however, because the outcome is always fact-specific; there are no bright-line rules for support modifications.
You should consult with an attorney in your area to discuss what options, if any, you have based on the particular orders and facts in your case.
Jennifer M. Paine is an Associate Attorney in the Detroit, Michigan office of Cordell & Cordell P.C. She is licensed to practice in Michigan, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Illinois, Ohio, and the United States Court of Federal Claims. Ms. Paine received her BA in English and Mathematics from Albion College and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her Juris Doctorate from MSU College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude.