Not all cases of a parent failing to pay child support involve “deadbeat” parents who are trying to shirk their financial responsibility. Sometimes, a parent cannot afford the payments due to circumstances that are out of their control, such as:
- Losing their job
- Suffering an injury that prevents them from working
- Being forced to make a major purchase or go into debt because of an emergency
If you find yourself unable to keep up with your child support payments, you need to present the problem in court and see if you can reduce your payments.
What Not to Do
You can be found in contempt of a court order if you do not pay child support, even if you cannot afford the payments. Do not assume that it is okay to miss a payment without saying anything to your co-parent. Regardless of your financial means, you are still knowingly violating your child support order. You should also avoid creating an informal agreement with your co-parent where you reduce your child support payments or defer payment. A family law court will not recognize changes to your child support payments that are made outside of the court-approved order. An informal agreement will likely not protect you if your co-parent files a complaint against you for not paying child support....