If you experience a sudden change in your income due to a change in your employment or living situation, you may find yourself unable to pay your child support payments as ordered by the court. There is hope, however, as you may be able to have your payments lowered by the same court.
You should first of all reach out to the other parent and see if they are willing to modify the support terms as they stand. If they agree to the change, a judge and sign off on this change and you can avoid a court battle, provided the new level is considerably below the state’s guidelines.
If no agreement can be reached with the other parent, you will then need to ask a court to change or modify your support order. You will need to prove to the court that your circumstances are now such that you cannot continue paying the original amount of monthly support.
A permanent modification to your order can be made if:
- The cost of living increases
- Child support laws change
- Either parent loses a job or changes to a job with significantly less pay
- Either parent becomes disabled
- The child’s needs change considerably
- Either parent remarries and the new spouse’s income increase significantly
You need to take action right away if you realize you will not be able to pay your current support order and need it modified. When you fail to pay support, these payments became arrears and they will need to be paid and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy or reduced retroactively by a judge.
Even if your former spouse refuses to a modification, you need to file a motion with the court to have the order changed.
If your financial situation has changed and you cannot afford support payments for your child, speak with our firm and discuss your needs with us during your free consultation.