The child support system is meant to help provide for the financial needs of your children when you get a divorce. This is a system that ensures both parents have an active role in supporting the kids equally. However, if one parent stops contributing, this can cause a major issue for the children and the other parent. If you are not able to pay a scheduled child support payment, the following can be helpful.
Ask for a Modification
If your finances change and you suddenly have no money coming in due to a job loss or disability, you can request a child support modification from the court. You must fill out a legal form outlining the reasons why you need the modification. You will also be required to disclose the balance in your bank accounts and your income.
If the modification is approved, you will receive a payment plan from the court that you can afford to pay based on your current income. The point of the payment plan is to pay your children some monetary amount instead of nothing. One thing to remember, however, is a modification can be permanent, but they are often temporary. You need to advise your attorney when you have a change in your finances so you can continue to make your normal payments.
Go to Court
If you have no way to make your child support payments and you have not asked for a modification, your former spouse could take you back to court for a failure to pay. The court will issue you a court date and when you should appear. If you do not appear, you will face more legal problems.
For your benefit, consider hiring an attorney to help you if you have to go to court. He or she will know what to do once you know the judge's decision.
When you are in court, you must explain why you cannot make any child support payments. You will be asked to provide your proof of income, your taxes, and any payment stubs you have. You will also have to provide information about your employer, a copy of your unemployment filing, or a doctor's excuse stating you are not physically able to work.
If the court determines you cannot pay child support, you could either receive a penalty or face time in jail. The court will also provide a payment plan or modify your payments to make sure you catch up on them. To learn more, reach out to a child support law attorney.