When your marriage ends, your financial situation will change, as will other areas of your life. These changes and adjustments may not stop simply because your divorce is final, and you may find that your circumstances no longer allow you to meet the terms of your child support order. If you cannot pay child support, this does not make you a bad parent, and it does not have a reflection on your custody rights.
In this situation, you may benefit from seeking a modification of your child support order. There are legal steps you can take that will allow you to change your current order and secure terms that are more conducive to your current situation. Instead of simply not paying your required support each month or paying less, seek an understanding of the legal options available to you regarding a formal modification of an order.
What can you do?
Financial circumstances can change at any time and for many different reasons. If you are having difficulty making your child support payments, there are a few things you can do to protect your interests, avoid problems with the other parent and secure a formal modification of your order. These steps include:
- Don’t wait to take action. As soon as you begin to have trouble making your payments, move forward with the next steps. Don’t wait until you fall too far behind or find yourself in a dispute with the other parent.
- Learn about the laws regarding a formal modification of a support order, and document changes in your financial circumstances.
- See if you can work out an agreement with the other spouse regarding the changes you need to make to your child support order. If you can reach an agreement, it is still subject to approval by the court.
- Seek a formal modification to your child support order by filing a petition with the court. You can submit documentation that supports your request for a change to your current order.
You may find it helpful to first learn about child support laws and the modification process before you take any steps that could affect you or your children. You do not have to wait until you are well behind on your payments to take this step. You can take this step as soon as your circumstances change and you believe you will be unable to adhere to the terms of your current order.