Turner & O’Connell, Attorneys At Law

Serving Pennsylvania since 1984


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What to do if you can’t afford to pay child support

| Nov 20, 2020 | Child Support |

If you have a court order to pay child support, it’s critical that you do so as required by law. Not only will this keep you out of hot water, but it also ensures that your children are getting the money they need.

However, just because you can afford your child support payments today doesn’t mean this will hold true in the future. You could run into financial trouble, thus making it a challenge, if not impossible, to keep up with payments

Here’s what you should do if you can’t afford to pay your current amount of monthly child support:

  • Document your circumstances: This is the first thing you need to do. If you can’t pay your child support, the court needs proof. They want to know why you’re unable to do so. Common examples include unemployment, decrease in pay or a disability or illness that makes it impossible to work.
  • Continue to pay to the best of your ability: You’re expected to continue to make child support payments until you receive a modification. If you neglect to do so, even if your financial circumstances have changed, you will have to catch up in the future.
  • Talk to your ex-spouse: Explain your situation and let them know that you’re going to request a modification of your child support order. If they’re okay with you doing so, there’s a better chance that the court will agree.
  • Take action: Once you realize that there’s no other option, take the necessary action with the court that issued the original order. The sooner you do this, the sooner you’ll receive a decision. And if it’s in your favor, you can immediately begin to pay the lesser amount.

Don’t hope for the best

If you’re unable to afford your child support payments, don’t let your pride get the best of you. It’s easy to hope for the best, but it’s not the right approach if you’re facing financial difficulties.

You’re better off taking the steps above with the hope of obtaining a modification. This will make it easier to stay current with your child support payments in the future.