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Child support debt accrues while a parent is unemployed

A child support order is typically based on the wages of both parents when the order goes into effect. If the parent paying support loses their job, there are a couple of options available to them. It's important for Maryland parents to understand that their obligation doesn't stop while they are unemployed. Being proactive may help a noncustodial parent avoid the consequences associated with nonpayment.

Parents who are eligible for unemployment benefits may have their child support deducted from those earnings. This may not happen automatically, so the noncustodial parent should inform the unemployment office about their child support order for the deduction to be made.

Another option is for the parent to get in touch with the family court that issued to order and inform the judge that they are unemployed but not eligible for state unemployment benefits. Parents in this situation should document their job search activities. Because it could take one or more pay cycles for the new employer to begin deducting child support payments from a parent's salary, those who have been unemployed may need to pay their child support by check for a few weeks.

Noncustodial parents may be ordered to purchase medical insurance for their children. When they lose their jobs, these parents may continue their health insurance through COBRA. If they cannot afford to pay for insurance or make the full child support payment, an attorney who focuses on family law may help a parent get an agreement modification for their child support order. By modifying the order, the court may make it easier for the noncustodial parent to pay some of the expenses for their children. Either parent may petition the court to modify the order again when the noncustodial parent secures full-time employment with health benefits.

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