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What happens to child support if my ex becomes disabled?

If you are divorced and have a child with your ex who pays child support, there are several things that may impact how much and if you continue to receive support payments. Since child support is calculated based on you and your ex's income, anything that can change your income can change child support, and that includes disability. Heaven forbid tragedy strikes but if it does, and your ex becomes disabled, even temporarily, child support may be modified.

If your ex is temporarily disabled, either after illness or accident, they may be able to request a temporary child support modification. The family court judge will allow a temporary reduction in the amount due until your ex has recovered and is able to return to work. If your ex is off of work and receives disability insurance, child support may be ordered to come out of that. It will likely still be reduced since disability insurance is usually less than an employee's base pay.

If your ex is permanently disabled and unable to work, there are several different things that can happen, but child support doesn't simply stop when an individual becomes disabled. Child support is expected to be paid regardless of disability unless ordered otherwise by the family court. If a disabled individual stops paying child support, their disability benefits may be garnished to make up for it. However, just as with disability insurance, the child support will likely be reduced significantly since the benefits are usually less than the individual's standard pay.

Deciding to take legal action to collect child support from your disabled ex can be a tough decision to make. Your child deserves support from both parents, but your ex may struggle with the payments. Speaking to an attorney can help you decide how to proceed in a way that helps protect your child and keeps your conscious clear.

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Goddard & Malmquist
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