October 17, 2019

Child Support Changes with Increase in Job Losses

There is an obvious connection between job loss and child support payments. The rise of unemployment to over 10 percent has made it nearly impossible for many parents to make their child support payments, which is reflected in a surge in petitions for reduced payments.

4 out of 10 people who have lost their job remain unemployed for six months or more. This increase in long-term unemployment makes the situation worse. Also, men have been disproportionately laid off due to the recession’s impact on traditionally male-dominated industries like manufacturing and construction. Because nearly 83 percent of custodial parents are women, men are left to pay most child support obligations.

In Highland County, Ohio, requests for support modifications nearly doubled unemployment applicationlast year as the county’s unemployment rate rose to over 16 percent when a major area employer left. According to Christine Blevins, a supervisor for the county child support enforcement agency, the nature of the requested changes also shifted. While in past years most requests came from custodial parents seeking increases, in 2009 almost all the requests came from noncustodial parents who lost their jobs and ask for payment reductions.

As people whose payments are now based on unemployment will soon lose those benefits, Blevins expects to see another wave of downward adjustments. Payments are also no longer calculated assuming that a parent could at least find a full time, minimum-wage job, as that is no longer realistic in this economy. The situation puts everyone involved in a difficult position, as the non-custodial parents struggle to pay child support and the children in need have a harder time getting the support they need.

I recommend that if your financial situation changes and you can’t meet your support payments, call your attorney or the state child support agency to start the review process. It can take months for a reduction to be granted, especially in communities that have cut back on staffing child support offices. If you cut payments without official approval, it may lead to legal problems and possibly even an arrest.


Jonathan Ginsberg practices Social Security disability law in Atlanta, Georgia.  He represents clients in claims before the Social Security Administration.


  1. T
    Social Security Oops.. My daughters father owes 250.000 in back
    support. He was just awarded Social security Disability benefits back
    to the date of application. Feb. 2009 the local office of Child
    Support enforcement sent Social Security office a notice of
    garnishment withholding. March 2009 SS sent CSE a
    letter responding that included a copy of that garnishment.So Why did
    Social Security just send the father the full amount of the award and
    not uphold Child Supports garnishment. I was told after speaking to SS
    that they did not see a garnishment and I was out of luck. Also that CS
    dropped the ball and I should call them. The manager of my case worker .
    Assured me that they did there job and there are documents to back it up.
    I have spent tens of thousands of dollars and years on this. I have 3
    large orders by honorable judges.. My question? Is a Child Support
    Order only worth the paper and ink it’s made of.
    I spoke to our Senator office today we agreed that I should act
    quickly and bring attention to this error.
    When working if I sent someone thousands or10s of thousands in
    error. myself or my employer would surely be held accountable.
    Thank-you for your time and consideration. Thank-you for having your blog any suggestions?

  2. Christina says

    I pay Child support Yes i am a women. One of the Odd minority. Right I have been unemployed since october 2009 and have been trying to make a modification since my job lowed my pay since February 2009. My X husband kept moving states with my kids making it difficult to even get my visitation to the pint now since i am not working now he has our kids tell me on the phone they can’t talk to me because they are not getting my child support. I have tried getting a reduction but Childsupport inforcement has informed me that since i am on unemployeement i can’t get a reduction since it is only a temporary income. What can i do i do not want to go to jail and only have 4 weeks if that left on my unemployement..

  3. I have primary custody of my daughter and recieved little to no child support from her father who claims he lost millions in the stock market almost 9 years ago and at that time I was order to pay him 70,000 due to debt he ran up in BOTH our names and meanwhile he has not worked even when our economy was booming and I keep taking him back to court and just seams to be a joke…I need to be the one to find out how he is living all these years with no income…why is the burden of proof on me??? Meanwhile my daughter is the one who loses, no money for braces, new clothes, school trips etc… What happen to putting the child best interest first…Oh yeh, he drives a newer model Jag and has lots of girl friends, the court approves this! The legal system is not a justice system… Last time I went to court the judge awarded my ex credit on days he was sick and couldn’t keep her…unfortunately she didn’t ask me what I do when I am sick?

  4. I’m a family law attorney in Atlanta, and I appreciate your blog. Thanks!

  5. @Stephanie Hope Arnold, RN, BSN: If he is getting money from the Veterans Administration, you can get a percentage of his money

Speak Your Mind