I Am Struggling to Make My Child Support Payments. Is There Anything I Can Do?

 Posted on January 20, 2022 in Child Support

child support lawyerOver the last two years, we have witnessed some of the most unusual circumstances that any of us ever thought possible. At this point, it is fairly safe to say that the COVID-19 health crisis has changed how we no go about our everyday lives. Of course, the pandemic has affected people in many different ways. Some got very sick. Some left their jobs to facilitate at-home learning for their children. And, some lost their jobs due to an evolving labor market. For some people, the loss of their job created opportunities to find something new, but for others, replacing that income has not been easy—but for fathers who are subject to child support obligations, a substantial loss of income can create serious challenges in meeting those obligations.

If you are a support-paying dad and you are having trouble making your full child support payments each month, you are likely wondering if there is anything that can be done to help you. The good news is that you may have some options, but they will not find you on their own. You will need to be proactive before you find yourself in serious trouble.

Notify the Court

Presuming you have not done so already, your first step should be to notify the court that issued your child support order of your current situation. Depending on the state and county, you may be able to notify the court through a dedicated domestic relations or child support enforcement office. You should be as forthcoming as possible about the reality of the situation. Let the court know when and why your income changed, what you can reasonably expect to pay, and what you are doing to address the situation.

Many family courts around the country have been willing to work with fathers who are delinquent on child support due to COVID. However, the leniency is likely to depend on your efforts going forward.

Continue to Make an Effort

Once you have notified the court, you might be required to attend a conference with the other parent or a hearing in front of a judge. As part of that conference or hearing, you will likely be asked to show the steps you are taking. With this in mind, it is in your best interest to:

  • Make at least partial payments. Paying something is better than paying nothing, and even a nominal payment is an indication of good faith.

  • Continue looking for additional income. Keep copies of job application emails. Try to find gig work, such as driving for DoorDash or becoming an Instacart Shopper. Do not be content with being behind.

  •  Have an idea of how you will catch up your payments. If you have at least some type of workable plan to catch up on your delinquent payments, the court is much more likely to work with you.

  • Contact a skilled family law attorney. Your financial situation might be tight right now, but a skilled lawyer could actually save you money by helping you avoid court costs, fines, and other expenses you might have otherwise incurred, not to mention the potential penalties for not meeting your obligations.

Reach Out to a Qualified Attorney in Your Area

To learn more about seeking relief regarding your delinquent child support payments, contact an experienced child support attorney near you. Your lawyer will have a good understanding of how your local court system is handling COVID-related child support cases, so he or she will be able to provide guidance with your situation.



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