What Should You Do If You Can't Afford Child Support Payments?

Posted on: 5 August 2019


You took part in having a child with someone, but the relationship didn't work out. As the parent who does not have full guardianship of the child, you will likely be responsible for child support payments. When couples who have a child together separate or get a divorce, the family court system will automatically decide how much your payments should be. There can be several factors involved in determining a proper payment, but that does not mean that these payments are always easy to afford. If you're having problems making your child support payments, here are a few things you should do. 

Talk to a family law attorney about your situation. 

One of the immediate things you should do if you are falling behind on child support payments because you simply can't afford to pay them is to talk to a family law attorney (such as Law Offices of Athina K. Powers). Your attorney can help you out by: 

  • Looking at your debt-to-income ratio compared to your payments
  • Determine if a judge would be likely to amend the payments to a lower amount
  • Explain what steps you should take to prevent yourself from getting in trouble with the court system

In most states, if you miss child support payments, you could be facing jail time, so seeking legal counsel immediately if you are falling behindis extremely important. 

Talk to your co-parent so they know what is going on. 

Communication between co-parents is not always the best. However, if you are having a hard time paying child support payments, it is a good idea to let the other parent know so they are not relying on money to support the child that you may not be able to pay right away. If you prefer or if you cannot communicate well with the other parent, your attorney can reach out to the other parent on your behalf to inform them of the situation. 

Gather information to submit to the court system. 

If your attorney feels like you have a good chance of having child support payments adjusted, they will need you to supply quite a few documents to the court system to prove why you are struggling. You may be asked to supply things like copies of your current pay stubs, copies of bills for living expenses, and even medical bill documentation. If there has been a specific life event that has brought about a financial challenge, such as time off of work due to an injury or illness, you may also have to submit supporting documentation for these situations.