January 12, 2024

Unemployment Compensation and Support Orders in Today’s Economy

Unemployment Compensation and Support Orders


It is often an unexpected event that many may face but few are prepared to endure.  In some circumstances, a portion of one’s income can be recouped by applying for and receiving unemployment compensation.  Unemployment and the loss of one’s normal income can be stressful.  That stress is further compounded if you currently have a support obligation that you are ordered to pay.

If you have a support obligation in place for either spousal, APL and/or child support, your unemployment compensation will be impacted by this obligation.  It is important to understand that unemployment compensation is considered income.  Any support order that is initiated by the County Courts of Common Pleas will affect a person’s unemployment compensation.  The Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law requires the Department of Labor and Industry to deduct support obligations from the unemployment compensation that one receives.

However, there may be relief available.  If you currently pay a form of support to another and find yourself unemployed, through no fault of your own, this may be considered a substantial change in circumstances.  When a person experiences a substantial change in circumstances that render the current support obligation difficult, or even impossible to maintain, it is very important to ask the court for relief.  This can be accomplished by filing a Petition to Modify Support.  A Petition to Modify Support lets the court know that you are not ignoring your obligation, but rather you are experiencing a temporary hardship.  Even if you know that your filing may not result in a conference or hearing date in the immediate future, you must file this petition.  A Petition to Modify Support will act as safeguard against a claim of contempt, or a potential enforcement proceeding.  In addition, your date of filing will be important because if you are granted a modification, which can result in lowering your monthly support payment, your filing date becomes the effective date.

As with any financial or legal situation that you may find yourself in, it is best to address it as soon as possible.  Get in contact with an experienced family law attorney in your area that can walk you through the steps and file the necessary paperwork.  There are always remedies available, but you must take the affirmative step to seek them.