What if I Can’t Afford to Pay Child Support?

child support

If you cannot afford to pay child support in accordance with your current agreement, you need to act quickly. A backlog of missed payments can quickly add up, and you could end up facing harsh penalties if you do not fulfill your obligations. You should talk to a Tazewell County child support lawyer as soon as you can. An attorney from our firm can tell you about your options.

Can I Just Stop Paying Child Support?

When you find yourself struggling to pay child support, you cannot simply stop paying. When you do that, you open yourself up to all kinds of penalties. A judge can:

  • Hold you in contempt
  • Garnish your wages
  • Place a lien against any property that you own
  • Withhold tax refunds
  • Suspend or revoke your driver’s license

You can even get sent to jail! This is often a last resort of the court, because they want you to pay your child support and that can be difficult to do from a prison cell. Still, you should know how seriously the court takes these matters.

Can I Modify the Child Support Agreement?

What can you do then? You have to be proactive. You have to acknowledge the issue right away and tell your spouse and the court that you are unable to pay as previously agreed. This can mean asking for a modification to the child support order.

If you do not have enough money to pay your current obligation, the court may be able to change your order and make it less of a burden on you financially. You can negotiate for a temporary change or a modification that will last for a longer period of time, depending on your circumstances and why you are struggling with your child support obligations.

What Are Valid Reasons For Changing a Child Support Agreement?

Just remember, you need to have a valid reason to adjust a child support agreement. The mismanagement of your money is not one of them. So if the court can see that you have been spending on vacations or big ticket items, it’s unlikely to entertain your arguments that you need to pay less in child support.

There are plenty of valid reasons to modify your agreement though. You can show that:

  • You lost your job and have no income
  • You lost your job and you secured one that pays significantly less
  • You had a medical emergency

If you can show that you had a decline in your income or a major expense and that you are trying hard to get back on your feet, that can often be convincing to a judge.

Contact Our Law Firm

So if you are having trouble meeting your obligations, you need to do everything that you can to avoid the ire of a family court judge. Contact Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C. to set up a consultation with our team. We can tell you which steps can be taken and how we can help you fight for a more fair agreement.

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