Getting Behind On Child Support

Hands of mother and child. Holding hands. Shallow depth of field.

We are addressing this issue to reinforce how important it is to resolve it proactively. By waiting to contact a family law attorney, you are likely making the situation worse. As soon as you realize you cannot afford your child support payments, you need to take action (and we will explain what you can do in a moment). We understand that many people are in a Catch-22-type scenario and don’t see a way out. 


For example, imagine that a parent is ordered to pay child support and does so every month for two years. The payments are never late, nor are they ever less than the court-ordered amount. The person paying gets laid off from work, unexpectedly injured, or diagnosed with a medical condition that eats into their budget and prevents them from working. These are all examples of substantial changes in circumstances that can happen to anyone. The Catch-22 is that they may not be able to afford an attorney or their child support payments. 


How Should I Proceed?


You need to accept two facts, even though they may be fundamentally opposed to one another:


  1. The courts take child support very seriously, and there are consequences for not paying it.
  2. A substantial change in circumstance can occur, and it may impact your ability to pay. 


Regarding consequences, you could lose your license or tax return, have your wages garnished, or have a lien put on your property. At worst, you could be sent to jail for contempt of court or charged as a felon. What should you do? Get in touch with a family law attorney immediately. If you remember nothing else from this blog, remember that. Your attorney can file the paperwork to get a modification. 


You will get a court date, and your attorney will present your case. Before this, you can do your part by giving them as much documentation as possible to show why this happened. If you lost your job, hand over any letter or emails your company sent outlining your termination. You can give your attorney your pay stubs and tax records to show how much money you made before your circumstances changed. For those who are struggling with medical bills, provide copies of them. 


Your attorney will help you with all of this, but it will be easier on both of you if you are prepared to provide all or some of the documentation we just mentioned. You need to be proactive because the money you owe continues to accrue. The situation worsens, and bankruptcy will not relieve you of this debt. 


Speak with the Attorneys at Cate & Brough 

There are other reasons to meet with an attorney outside of financial obligations. For example, if your spouse can no longer support your child, and you now have the kids 90% of the time, get in touch with an attorney to modify your order. When you meet with us, we will learn more about your situation and outline ways to pursue a resolution that fits your and your family’s needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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Cate & Brough, P.A.

At Cate & Brough, we all have personal experience with family law and family court. We know more than just what the law says about your issue – we know what you are going through.

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