jg-piggybankLosing a job before you have the next one lined up can be incredibly frightening. Scary enough is wondering how you are going to support yourself – add to the mix the child you are financially responsible for. You are legally responsible to provide maintenance to that child but don’t have the money. Don’t panic. Take a deep breath, and keep reading.
The first step is notification. You have to contact your former spouse and the court to inform them that due to job loss you will have to modify your child support payments. Ideally this should be done through a lawyer. However, if you have an amicable relationship with your ex, perhaps even a friendship along with shared custody, then by all means.
Too many people accuse an ex-spouse of avoiding child support. In fact, there have been instances of the payer quitting his/her job simply to avoid paying child support. This is not you and you do not want to be on the end of such an allegation. Transparency is key.
Child support can be modified but not if you choose to switch jobs, taking a lower paying one, or if you put yourself in a position to be fired. If you were laid off, much to your surprise, then you should be able to adjust support with a good faith showing to the court.
Hopefully you and your ex-spouse can agree to a modification. Then just put it in writing and bring it to the court for a judge’s signature. If you both cannot agree then you must request a hearing where you can present your reasons for requesting a modification. You will have to demonstrate a “material and substantial change in circumstances.”
In New Mexico, the court examines whether the initial factors that went into calculating child support have altered such that the amount of child support is affected by at least 20%. Thus, if your loss of employment has resulted in a 20% or more deficit in the total monthly child support payment, then the legal presumption is to modify child support. When there has been a shift of 20% or more in the baseline amount, the law presumes a significant change in circumstances.
The more prompt and forthcoming you are about losing your job, the more likely you are to resolve the child support issue in a manner that best suits both you and your child.
Our firm employs highly skilled family law attorneys who can assist you on a variety of issues surrounding marriage, divorce and children. Don’t try and steer this path on your own. Call Lightning Legal Group today at 505-247-2390 for a free consultation.

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