Dos and Don’ts When You Can’t Pay Child Support Payments?

Child support and custody is a serious topic that can be complicated and exhausting for both parties involved. Things can get tough when you can’t pay child support and don’t want to be separated from your child. If you are in such a crisis, here is what you need to know.

How long does child support last?

The law requires you to make child support payments until the following conditions occur:

• Your child is no longer considered a minor and turns 18. This regulation is subject to change in case the child has special needs.

• Your child joins the military.

• Your child marries or registers a domestic partnership.

• Your parental rights end due to adoption or any other specific legal procedure.

• Your child becomes emancipated or dies.

Now as you know about child support and how long it can last, here is what to do and what not to do when you cannot pay child support.


Request an Official Payment Modification – In any circumstance, such as losing your job, you lose custody of your child if you cannot support it, then this is the first thing to do. Contact the child support authorities and explain your situation. If they find your case legitimate, they will ask you to request an official payment modification.

You will need to complete a legal document that indicates what conditions have changed for you, as well as your current savings and other information related to your income. If the authorities find your case credible enough, they can work out a temporary payment plan for you.

Communicate with your former spouse who has custody of the children: Regardless of your relationship with your former spouse, you need to talk openly with him about the situation. It can help you avoid a legal situation or more arguments or fights in front of the child.

What should not be done

Do not hide or remain silent about your situation: If you lose your job or your current income is not enough to support your child, do not hide your situation from the authorities. The child care authorities will find out if you do not make payments and will not provide an explanation. If you have not spoken or lied about your situation, the authorities will not allow your child to live with you. You will not be able to request an official payment modification for your child.

Don’t Miss Your Court Hearing – If you haven’t made ongoing child support payments, the court will likely call you or request your presence. Regardless of how overwhelming and scary the situation may seem, you must go to court on the requested date. Not visiting court will further weaken your case and cause more problems for you. They may even consider you an irresponsible parent, which is the last thing you would like to see happen.

Don’t defame the custodial parent: When you can’t financially support your child, your case naturally weakens. Smearing your ex-spouse in court or blaming him for something he didn’t do is not a good idea to strengthen your case. It’s especially important that you don’t slander or badmouth them in front of your child.

Conclusion: It is a very painful experience for any parent when they cannot financially support their child. To save yourself from legal proceedings or to make the legal process less painful, you need to inform the authorities and be honest about your situation. Also, you need to be open and respectful with your ex-spouse throughout the entire procedure so that both of you can come to a resolution that benefits that child and puts him or her first.

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