unemployed parent

Will You Lose Custody When You Lose Your Job?


Being a parent entails supporting children in every aspect of their lives— including financial support. Your kids can’t earn for themselves yet. They are totally dependent on their parents. A change in one’s financial situation can affect a parent’s ability to support the child or make child custody payments. Unemployment can raise questions about financial capacity and this may cause changes in the support order of your custody agreement. 

Remember, it’s not easy to save money. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have savings left for the rainy days. People change and lose jobs. It’s normal. We get to experience reduced income or loss of income for various reasons. Circumstances like these often call for cutting back on the expenditures because not doing so can have an impact on one’s capacity to pay for the basic responsibilities which include child support that is specified in the Texas child custody agreement. 

At a Disadvantage

A parent who does not have a job has a small chance in winning a custody case. Again, your child has needs. Money is really an issue in childcare. However, custody is not solely determined on the person’s career or the lack thereof. The court does not decide custody cases on financial capacity alone. Custody is not always awarded to the richer parent. You don’t have to be richer. You just have to have enough to take care of the child. Custody cases are decided by evaluating factors that help determine what is in the best interest of the child. Children are usually in the residential custody of the primary parent. 

Modifying Child Support

The amount of child support will be based on the current income of the noncustodial parent. Applying for modification of the support order is possible when there are changes to the income. Either a court hearing or the Child Support Review Process (CSRP) can be done. What if you become unemployed? Well, the judge will set the amount based on previous earnings, earning potential, and some other factors.

However, this modification may not happen right away. It is crucial to pay continuously the child support until the modification comes through. 

Generally, a parent must wait one (1) year from the mediated settlement or prior order agreement to modify the arrangement in custody sans extraordinary circumstances. There must be a substantial and material change in situations regarding the parent conservator or the children that necessitates a modification of the conservatorship order. If one of the parents loses their job this instance will probably not satisfy or reach the modification threshold within one year.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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