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What to do if you can’t pay child support in California?

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2022 | Child Support

Lawmakers in California enacted child support laws to ensure that children get the financial support they need to grow, thrive, and become who they want to be regardless of when their parents are not living together or can’t see eye to eye. However, a non-custodial parent might have difficulty making payments due to unemployment, medical issues, or other circumstances. If you are facing such a predicament, here’s what you can do.

Contact the other parent and work out an arrangement

When facing a financial difficulty that balks your obligation to pay child support, the first thing you need to do is contact the other parent. See if there is any way that you can work out an arrangement that works for both of you. Perhaps you can agree to temporarily lower the amount of child support payments or develop a different schedule. If you can reach an agreement, be sure to put it in writing to avoid legal repercussions in the future.

Request a modification from the court

When a court orders the non-custodial parent to make certain monthly payments, they hope that it should be permanent or at least last more than three years. However, they understand that circumstances do change, sometimes earlier than expected. Therefore, you can request a modification of the original terms immediately after a problem occurs.

As much as this is the case, the court cannot allow modification if you voluntarily quit your job. You must have been laid off or lost your primary source of income as a self-employed individual. And, you must have some proof of your change in financial situation. Some documentation you can use include pay stubs or tax returns.

Be very fast to deal with child support when your financial circumstances change. Delay could lead to court-ordered liens on your property (which could lead to seizure), poor credit score, revocation or suspension of driving and other recreational privileges, wage garnishment, and arrest.