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Can my child support payments be changed if I lose my job?

Divorce for parents in Alberta is about more than just selling the family home and buying separate condos. It is about coming up with a child custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the former couple's child; it is about establishing a child support order designed to provide for a child's well-being. It can be quite expensive to raise a child, and if only one parent is contributing toward that cost, a child's standard of living will be vastly less than if both parents contributed.

Though it is certainly important for a parent to do what he or she can to financially support his or her child, child support responsibilities cannot always be met, especially if the payor has lost his or her job. No one should face financial constraints just to meet his or her support obligations.

There are a few ways to reduce a child support award following a job loss or shift in financial circumstances, one of which is the Government of Alberta's Child Support Recalculation Program. By applying for the program, a parent can see his or her obligations reduced to better align with his or her current finances.

By applying for the program, parents' child support payments will be evaluated each year, but it cannot be used to reduce child support arrears. So, if a parent has lost a job, it is important to apply for the program quickly.

Child support is certainly important to both a payor's child and the parent who receives it. Just because a couple has divorced, however, doesn't mean that both parents want to stop doing what is best for their child.

Source: Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, "Child Support Recalculation Program General Information," Accessed July 17, 2014

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