Every parent desires to provide and care for their child. If you have separated or divorced, and you share a child together, the court will often direct the non-custodial parent to pay child support.
However, if you find yourself in a situation where you cannot fulfill this requirement, it is important that you know what to do, and what costly mistakes to avoid. Falling behind on child support, and doing nothing about it, can lead to serious consequences.
Potential consequences of missed child support payments
A child support obligation does not automatically end because you no longer have a source of income. If you fall behind in your child support payments, the arrears (owed payments) will continue adding up as long as the order is in place. Some of the consequences of missed child support payments may include the following:
- Your paycheck will be garnished
- Your driver’s license could be suspended
- You could be held in contempt of the court, with the possibility of going to jail
- The state department can decline your passport application
So, what are your options when you cannot pay child support?
Given the repercussions of missed child support payments, it is important that you know what to do when faced with this dilemma. This is where child support modification comes in.
In order to modify an existing child support order, you must demonstrate to the court that there has been a substantial material change in your circumstances that affects your ability to fulfill your child support obligation. A material change in circumstance can be due to the loss of a job or illness that impacts your ability to work. Upon a satisfactory review of your case, the court will modify your child support amount.
Child support is an important obligation following the divorce or separation. However, if you are no able to keep up with this obligation, it is important that you know how you can petition the court for a modification.