When people think of the possibility of a NBA and NFL lockout, the first thought is how the disputes could affect the players and the owners. But a group of individuals who could also be affected are the former wives of players who currently receive monthly alimony and child support payments.
A divorce or separation between two people is often complicated, especially if the two share children. In addition to balancing emotions with tasks, couples have to figure out who gets custody and who will be making child support payments. But for former wives of the professional athletes, a lockout could mean a reduction in those monthly payments.
Right now, it appears that players are already seeking to modify the existing child support payments. If the league shuts down, it would mean lower incomes for players and therefore make it more difficult to meet those monthly payments. But the payments are necessary in order to provide a child with things like food and clothing.
For players who have prenuptial agreements, issues like child support and alimony do not become a source of contention when income drops. This establishes prior to the marriage what the wife and children would get in the event of a divorce.
All these considerations are the same across professions. In the event of a life change, such as a job loss or extreme income reduction, parents who are paying child support can seek to have the amount being paid lowered to reflect the life changes. This ensures that the children are still being provided for in some way but does not unduly burden the parent.
Source: Bloomberg online, “NFL Players Poised to Cut Alimony, Making Wives Industry Dispute Victims,” Scott Soshnick, 08 May 2011