Child support payments after the divorce or separation are meant to ensure that the child’s needs (education, food, shelter and others) are met. However, since the child support amount is usually set by the court rather than via private arrangement between the divorcing couple, it is not uncommon for the paying party to fall behind on this obligation.
There are a number of reasons why you may fall behind or default in child support payments. Regardless of your specific circumstance, it is important that you notify the court about your inability to pay child support as soon as it becomes apparent.
But what is the urgency about?
The importance of notifying the court of your inability to pay child support cannot be overstated. If your ex decides to file an enforcement motion, you might end up grappling with the following consequences:
- Your salary or bank account could be garnished
- Your drivers’ license could be suspended
- Your state and federal tax refunds could be intercepted
- Your professional license could be suspended or revoked
- You could go to jail
So what should you do if you can no longer pay child support?
If you find yourself in a situation where you have lost your job, experienced a reduction in your income or a significant change in your finances and ability to honor your child support obligation, it is important that you notify the DSS Bureau of Child Support Enforcement about your change of circumstance.
You will need to fill out the paperwork stating what has changed. Additionally, you will need to provide your current income information. Upon assessing your claim, the department will decide whether your claim is legitimate and recommend a payment plan that matches your circumstance.
Every parent has a duty to provide for their children regardless of their relationship status with the other parent. Find out how you can modify a child support payment plan if there are changes in your circumstance.