Unforeseen life events can put a burden on your finances. A job loss or a medical emergency is enough to make you worry about affording your child’s expenses. Skipping payments or reducing the amount may cross your mind, but these actions can carry harsh penalties. Instead, you’ll want to abide by the legal process and prove to the court that you are not evading your responsibilities.
What to do when you can’t pay
The inability to continue paying child support is not an uncommon scenario. Many parents struggle to keep up with child support payments after a substantial change in circumstances.
However, there is no getting around this obligation. The court could order a levy or back payments for any arrears. Additionally, you will continue to owe the same amount without formal modification despite unemployment or medical conditions.
To avoid harsh penalties, you must take control of the situation. Informing the court before you end up with any late payments is a good start.
A thorough and sincere explanation of your situation could help gain the court’s empathy. With their support, you may obtain a modified arrangement or a reduced amount. This way, the payments become less of a burden on you while still providing for the child.
You may also consider discussing your situation with the other parent ahead of time. Although they cannot modify a court order, gaining their understanding may decrease the chances of them taking legal action against you. Alerting them early on can also give them time to adjust their budget.
Non-payment is not worth the risk
There are serious consequences for missing child support obligations. The court could place a lien on your property, suspend your licenses, garnish your wages or charge you for contempt.
There is no shame in going to the court to ask for relief. After all, the changes in your circumstances were out of your control. By acting quickly and following the legal process, you have a better chance of improving your situation.