For most parents, providing for their children seems natural even when they are separated from the other parent. Of course, after divorce or separation, parents often must comply with a court order setting a certain amount of child support they must provide each month. This amount becomes part of a parent’s budget unless circumstances become difficult. What can parents do when they are unable to pay court-ordered child support?
Dealing with hard times
Sometimes life events bring financial setbacks. For those under the obligation of court-ordered child support, setbacks like a job loss or medical emergency can make it difficult or impossible to meet those obligations. Sometimes a parent can reach an agreement with the other parent to temporarily modify the amount of support. However, it is not always advisable to do this without legal support.
Modifying your support amount
A safer action is to seek a modification from the court. Doing this as soon as possible after a financial setback is advisable since missed child support payments do not go away even if the parent files for bankruptcy. To facilitate this process, advisors suggest parents take the following steps:
- Learn about Florida laws related to child support.
- Continue making support payment to the best of their ability.
- Keep records about their financial situation and how it affects their obligation.
- Obtain legal guidance for filing for a child support modification.
The courts typically understand the difference between a parent who refuses to pay support and one who is struggling. Taking steps to modify child support as quickly as possible may help a noncustodial parent avoid some of the serious legal ramifications of falling behind on support payments. It could also minimize the negative consequences a child may suffer due to lost financial support.