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I’m falling behind in child support payments. What should I do?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2023 | Child Support

Both parents have a moral and legal obligation to provide for their child (or children) until they can fend for themselves. If the relationship ends in a divorce or separation, however, the court might intervene to determine how the child will be provided for through a child support order. 

Child support is binding. In other words, failure to pay child support can set you up for serious legal and personal consequences like suspension of your driver’s license, wage garnishment and incarceration. So, what do you do if you genuinely can no longer pay child support?

 Your options if you fall behind in child support

If you are no longer able to pay child support, and you are struggling to get caught back up, then you need to explore your options. This may include the possibility of seeking a modification. Your reasons for seeking a modification, however, must be justifiable. Here are some of the reasons why you may petition the court for child support modification:

  • Loss of a job or change of income – a job loss or a loss of a source of income can justify child support modification. However, you cannot intentionally leave your job to avoid paying child support. 
  • A medical emergency – health problems that either render you unable to work or that are draining your finances can be a reason for child support modification. 

Basically, you must demonstrate to the court that your reason for child support modification is genuine. 

If the court orders you to pay child support, it is important that you are up to date on your payments. If life’s circumstances make this impractical, do not sit back and do nothing. Subject to your situation, you may explore the possibility of seeking a modification for the existing order.