Most parents take their duty to provide and care for their children very seriously. When a marriage ends in a divorce or separation, the non-custodial parent will be required to provide for their child through a court-ordered child support arrangement. But what if you cannot afford child support?
Most child support defaults are attributed to parents who fall behind due to circumstances beyond their control. These may include medical emergencies, lost income or even incarceration. Regardless of your situation, however, you need to take a proactive approach to your inability to pay.
Here are two important steps you need to take if you can no longer pay child support:
Talk to the other parent
Consider talking to your ex about changes in circumstances that are hindering you from following through with the child support order. However, it is important to understand that an oral agreement is not legally binding – nor can your ex simply “forgive” your support obligation. So, even if your ex understands your situation and is willing to accept less or no payment at all, you will still need to deposit any agreement arrived at in court.
Petition the court for a modification
It is important that you let the court know why you are falling behind in child support payments. Depending on the circumstances of your case, the court may agree to a temporary or long-term modification of the child support order if you can show that your inability to pay isn’t under your control.
Every parent has a legal duty to provide for their parent until they can work and provide for themselves. Find out how you can petition the court for a child support order modification.