Cannot afford child support payments? Here is what to do

Divorce has a lasting emotional and financial impact. If you are struggling to make child support payments, you might fear garnishment or other penalties. While you want the best for your child and your ex-wife, sometimes life changes unexpectedly and you just cannot meet the requirements.

Thankfully, there is a process for modifying your child support order. Here is a guide to revising your child support payments.

Gather proof

You need a solid reason for requesting modification. Some potential justifications include:

  • Significantly decreased income. This can happen if you lose your job and with it your primary source of income.
  • Major changes in new family responsibilities. For example, if you remarry, you may not be able to afford to pay child support due to your obligations to children from your new marriage.
  • Substantial increase in income or wealth for your ex. This might happen if she gets a higher paying job or gets a large inheritance.
  • Serious medical condition. Your child may have developed a medical condition that incurs more costs on you.

You will need to collect proof of these circumstances. For example, you can show your most recent pay stubs as proof of reduced income.

Complete and submit the petition

Complete the form by including important details on your form, such as the date, location and amount of the original support order. Along with citing reasons for the petition, you will also need to answer all questions and check any applicable boxes. Once you complete and sign your petition, make two copies of it and submit it to the court clerk located in the same county from which the first order originated. There is a filing fee involved, and your ex should receive a copy of the form.

If the court orders a hearing after receiving your petition, you will need to attend it and prepare your case. Before you fill out the petition or attend a hearing, it is wise to consult with a family law attorney.

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