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What to do if you can’t make your child support payments

Even though you take pride in making child support payments in full and on time, you never know what could happen in the future. If you run into financial trouble, you may find it difficult to keep up with these payments.

If you're unable to make your child support payments, here are five steps to take:

  • Take action now: Any back child support that you owe must be paid in the future. This is why you should take immediate action the second you realize that you can no longer afford to make the payments.
  • Understand the law: Focus on the laws that govern how much child support you pay, as well as the protections in place for you.
  • Talk to the other parent: Let them know what you're up against, make a suggestion and see if you can work something out. They may agree to accept smaller payments until you get back on your feet.
  • Document all changes to your finances: You need to prove to the court that you can no longer make child support payments, such as by showing that you are out of work or unable to work as the result of an illness.
  • File your request quickly: File your request for a child support modification with the same court that issued the order in the first place.

You don't want to jump the gun, but if you realize you're in financial trouble, you should learn more about these steps. As you review your situation, you may come to find that you're able to request and receive a child support modification.

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