When a noncustodial parent becomes disabled because of a workplace accident,
an occupational disease, a personal injury accident, or because of a disabling
medical condition, and they are not able to work, it can become difficult
for them to keep up with their
child support payments.
If a parent starts receiving workers’ compensation, Social Security
Disability (SSDI), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), does it mean
they are off the hook for child support?
Parents are supposed to financially support their children, and a divorce
does not change that obligation. Even if a noncustodial
parent is incarcerated, is diagnosed with a mental illness, or becomes disabled, it does not
mean they no longer have to support their children because that is not the case.
Can Child Support Be Reduced?
If you are a noncustodial parent and you become disabled, you can’t
work, and you start receiving unemployment,
workers’ compensation, SSDI benefits, or SSI, you will still be obligated to pay child support;
however, your drop in income may qualify you for what is called a “downward
If your income has reduced significantly because you cannot work due to
your disability, you may be entitled to a reduced child support obligation
that reflects your current financial circumstances.
Under Pennsylvania law, either parent can petition the court to
modify (change) their existing order at any time if they have experienced a significant change in circumstances,
and in many cases, becoming disabled qualifies as a “significant
change in circumstances” that warrants a reduction in a parent’s
child support obligation.
Note: A parent’s obligation to support their children does not change if
they become disabled or unemployed. Child support payments can be garnished
from SSDI, workers’ compensation, and unemployment benefits. It
cannot, however, be garnished from SSI.
If you are looking
to file a cheap, no-fault divorce in Philadelphia or anywhere else in Pennsylvania,
contact Cairns Law Offices today.