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Unemployment and other factors that can affect child support

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2020 | Family Law

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and applied for unemployment benefits in recent weeks. And while job loss for anyone can be devastating, parents who must make regular child support payments can face additional challenges in this and similar situations.

A primary concern parents often have after any significant financial change, like job loss, is how they will be able to afford child support, or if they will even need to keep paying. Below, we explain how child support expectations might change in situations like unemployment.


Per Pennsylvania law, parents with child support orders must continue to pay support if they lose their job and collect Unemployment Compensation (UC). Typically, support will come directly out of UC benefits.

While you may still be obligated to pay support, the amount may change based on the circumstances of each individual case.

Winning the lottery

One-time payments like lottery winnings will be a factor in calculating child support. If winning the lottery happens after an existing order is in place, a party may request that the courts modify the order to consider the additional income.

It is also important to note that lottery winnings, as well as stimulus checks and income tax returns, could be intercepted if you owe child support.

High medical bills

A parent with a serious illness or injury may pay less child support than a parent in a similar situation but without unusual medical expenses. If a child has a severe illness or injury, resulting in high medical expenses, a parent paying support may pay more than a parent whose child does not have the same needs.

If a condition is sudden or severe, there may be grounds to stop or otherwise change support orders in an emergency.

Know what your changes mean

Changes in circumstances, whether that means losing a job or winning the lottery, can have a considerable impact on many aspects of a person’s life. It is important not to overlook how they may affect your support obligations. Failure to make payments – either because you cannot or because you think you do not need to – can have serious repercussions.

If you have specific questions about child support calculations or modifications, you can call The Quinn Law Firm at 814-806-2518 to discuss your situation with an attorney knowledgeable in this area of law.

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