It seems like financial crises are looming large these days, and many people are unsure how they’re going to meet obligations like rent, utility bills, car payments and more over the coming months.
Divorced parents, of course, have an even bigger concern: They need to know what to do if they can’t afford their child support next month.
Here’s are some suggestions on how to handle the situation:
1. Explain the situation to your ex.
Your ex-spouse can’t relieve you of your support obligation — nor is anything they may agree to binding. However, talking to your ex-spouse and explaining exactly why you can’t meet your obligation can help them prepare for the shortfall, which benefits your child. Having your ex-spouse’s goodwill over the issue can also keep your troubles from escalating later.
2. Make certain that you’re sure you can’t afford your support.
Your child support obligation comes before all other obligations you have except your basic needs — and that means truly basic. Cancel your subscription streaming, eliminate takeout and let your phone get turned off before you skip your support. You may also want to consider tracking your expenses during this time. That way, you can show a judge exactly how spare you were living, if necessary.
3. Ask for a modification of your support order.
Ultimately, the only way to get real relief from child support you can’t afford is to ask the court to modify the order. You’ll generally need to show the court that your inability to keep up with the payments is unlikely to be temporary.
If you’re unsure what to do after a change in your income affects your ability to pay support, it may be time to seek some professional guidance.