Child support ensures that the children of a relationship don't suffer financially when a couple parts ways. Unfortunately, problems can occur when the parent ordered to pay that support falls behind. To learn more about what to do when that happens, read on.
What to Do If You Can't Afford Child Support Anymore
Child support is ordered based on income and that amount seldom changes. No matter how much you owe, pay what you can. Every little bit helps your child be more financially secure and it reduces the amount you owe in arrears. When you have trouble paying the child support, let the other parent know right away. Being divorced means that it's even more important to communicate with each other. Giving the other parent a heads-up will allow them to budget their money.
Contact the child support enforcement agency in your area and let them know that you are having trouble paying the obligated sum. Some agencies offer payment plans to help you get caught up. As long as you follow the plan, you can avoid some of the more harsh penalties for failing to pay.
How to Get Your Child Support Payments Adjusted
To have your child support payment adjusted, you must show the judge that you have had a major change in your financial circumstances. That might mean you are encountering issues like job loss, a serious medical condition, and other issues. In most cases, the child support adjustment, if ordered, is temporary only.
Some parents undergo considerable changes in their income after the original order is handed down. In that case, you can bring the issue up at a hearing and have the support obligation reevaluated. For example, if you find out that the other parent is now earning a lot more money than they used to and a lot more than you, you might be able to switch places and have the other parent be responsible for child support.
Who to Go to About Your Child Support Payments
If you want to do anything with the original order, such as a temporary or permanent modification, speak to a family law attorney. They will file a motion for the court and a hearing will be scheduled. Be ready to show good cause for the action. For example, if you have a medical condition that prevents you from earning income, be prepared to show medical records and bank statements. You should know, however, that judges are extremely reluctant to change child support orders.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you don't want to make it appear that you are a deadbeat parent. Taking action is important. Speak to a family divorce attorney to find out more.