What if a parent is struggling with child support?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2023 | Family Law/Divorce

Every parent has a legal and moral duty to care and provide for their child until they can stand on their own feet. If divorce comes into the picture, the court will often direct one parent to pay child support. Like any other court order, child support is binding unless modified otherwise. 

However, it is not uncommon to find yourself in a situation where you can no longer keep up with your child support obligations. What can a parent do in such a scenario? 

Potential ramifications of failing to pay child support

People fall behind in child support for a variety of reasons. The most common one is job loss. However, it is important to understand that your child support obligation is not automatically going to end because you are no longer employed. Even after your job loss, unpaid child support (arrears) will continue piling up as long as the order is in place. Over time, you might face the following consequences as a result of unpaid child support:

  • Your driver’s license could be suspended
  • You could be sent to jail for contempt
  • Your passport application may be refused

If you are employed, yet are not paying child support, then your paycheck may be garnished. And if you are expecting tax refunds, this too may be intercepted. 

What can be done for parents who are struggling?

If you fall behind in child support, it is important that you explore the possibility of seeking a modification. For this to happen, you must prove to the court that you have gone through (or are going through) a change in circumstance that is hindering your ability to pay child support. This may be a genuine job loss or a medical condition that is taking up much of your finances. If the court is satisfied, it may review and modify the existing child support order. 

When pursuing a child support modification, it is important to have legal guidance on your side.