Modifying Support: Where to Start When You’ve Lost Your Job

Let’s start with the practical things that you’re going to want to do as soon as you lose your job or have a significant income reduction. Practical step one, try to lock in the evidence. You’ve lost your job. Do everything you can to substantiating and writing that the job loss or income reduction wasn’t your fault.

If you get a severance agreement, keep it. It’s best to get something in writing if you can, preferably in a letter or an email format from the person who decided to lay you off or reduce your income. And have that person put in writing very clearly that the reason for the job layoff or the income reduction is due to economic circumstances and not your performance.

If you cannot get a letter or email from the person who made the decision to reduce your income or lay you off, then try to get at least a text or email from somebody else in the company with knowledge of your situation. Take what you can get in terms of evidence.

If you have your own business, you want to start assembling the proof of what led to the decreased revenue. Sometimes the proof is going to be obvious. Like Governor DeSantis had an executive order that required your business to close. Other times though, you might have to gather evidence of other types of proof. Like a supplier having problems that prevents you from producing your product, or customers confirming they can not buy from you due to the economic effects of the coronavirus.

Prefer to read a book about this instead? Click here to access our free book on modification of alimony and modification of child support due to the CoVid 19 pandemic and click here for our modification of support information center.  Also, you can click here or the “Schedule Your Consultation” link above to speak with one of our lawyers concerning your particular situation.

Step two, you got to try to find another job or get as much income as you can. The law requires you to be making a diligent effort to restore your income. If you cannot prove that you tried to get another job, you might not be able to get help from the court in getting a temporary reduction in your support.

Yeah we know, you’re probably doing this anyway. Anybody who loses their job is usually trying to find a new one as soon as possible. But if you don’t, the law’s likely not on your side here when it comes to trying to get a temporary reduction or abatement of your alimony or child support. A lot of how the law works revolves around what is called a “good faith” test. And that’s did the person, did you make a diligent effort to try to become re-employed or restore your income back to what it was? And did you make a consistent good faith effort at that?

So how do you satisfy the good faith test if you just lost your job? Well, you got to show that you’re trying to find a new job. Sign up for recruiting websites, submit job applications. And you need to keep a detailed log of this, preferably with all files that relate to it. Make the law the who, what, when, where, and how of how you tried to seek reemployment. Save every single application that you send.

These days you can take a picture on your phone of everything you’re doing on your computer. Or save the emails. Do everything that you can so that if you have to, you can prove in a court of law the efforts that you went to try to find a job to replace your income during the time that you were out of work. Courts are usually not going to reward somebody with a temporary reduction in support if they’re not trying to get a new job.

And another thing here is you need to take what you can get in terms of replacement income. Courts generally don’t want you to sit and wait for the next perfect job. They want you to suck it up and work in whatever job you can get to try to make as much money as you can. So that even if you can’t pay the full amount of support, you can at least pay something.

And I think all of us who are affected by this economic crisis are trying to take what they can get. But you can’t just be picky here. You can’t wait for the perfect opportunity and not do anything less. You got to go back to work at least if you want help from the courts.

And if you’re a business owner, you need to do what you can to earn what you can. You’re probably doing this already. But just as an example, if you’re a restaurant owner who made the majority of his or her money from customers dining in the restaurant, if the governor makes an order that says the people can’t come in your restaurant, you’re still going to have to try to sell takeout at least to the point where the evidence shows it’s not an economically viable money-making proposition. So you got to try to make as much money as you can, however you can. Which is what most people are going to try to do anyway.

Click here to access our free book on modification of alimony and modification of child support due to the CoVid 19 pandemic and click here for our modification of support information center.  Also, you can click here or the “Schedule Your Consultation” link above to speak with one of our lawyers concerning your particular situation.