Child support payments are an important part of making sure that your kids have what they need to stay healthy and safe. While you may have had the best of intentions for meeting your obligations, things can sometimes happen that get in your way of being able to pay the full amount. When this happens, it is important to avoid skipping payments since that harms your kids and can get you in trouble with the law. Instead, follow these steps to find a suitable arrangement that everyone can benefit from until you get back on your feet.
Identify What Has Changed
It is important to assess your current situation and identify why you can no longer afford to pay child support. In some instances, this will be simple, such as noting a recent job loss or health crisis. In other cases, you may have to do a little digging to figure out if your expenses have been creeping up or perhaps you overestimated how much you could pay from the very beginning. Knowing what has changed allows you to move forward with a better understanding of whether this is a temporary or permanent situation.
Explore Ways to Improve Your Financial Situation
Struggling to pay child support often means that you are hurting financially in other areas as well. Identifying ways to improve your financial situation allows you to be able to contribute more to your child’s care, and it helps your overall life satisfaction. Finding a higher paying job, reducing unnecessary expenses and paying off debt are a few solutions that might help you increase your disposable income.
Document Your Current Financial Status
Trying to get your child support order modified typically requires you to submit proof to the court of your reasons for needing the changes. Talk to your online lawyer to get advice on what types of documentation you will need, such as records from your bank account or your new lease that outlines your rent increase. Having proof of your new financial status makes it more likely that your request for modification will be taken seriously. It also lets your ex-partner know that you are telling the truth and not just trying to get out of paying.
Reach Out to the Other Parent
Child support discussions can get volatile, which is why it is almost always better to work through a mediation lawyer if you have had trouble communicating in the past. While it may be embarrassing to outline your financial troubles to your ex-partner, it is important to let them know what is happening so that they can prepare financially for a potential drop in child support. Reaching out also opens up the possibility that they will be open to modifying the order so that you can get things accomplished faster through mediation.
Seek a Modification of the Current Child Support Order
It is important to go through the proper legal channels to get your child support order modified. This protects you from facing penalties for not paying the correct amount such as being charged interest or losing your license. Once you have reached out to the other parent, work with your lawyer to submit the required paperwork and documentation to have the order modified. Then, make sure to keep a copy of the new order. If your child support is automatically deducted from your paychecks, then you will also need to share the new modified amount with your employer.
Being honest about being unable to afford your child support payments puts you in the best position to make sure that you contribute as much as possible toward raising your child. As you talk to your ex-partner, remember to keep things calm by using the communication tips that you learned from our relationship experts to find the ideal resolution to your child support issues.