When you're ordered to pay child support by the court, it's important to know exactly what's expected of you. This knowledge allows you to pay in full and on time, without any concerns of making a mistake.
There may come a point when you struggle to make child support payments. If this happens, you shouldn't sit around and wait for things to get worse. You should request a child support modification.
Doing so is a detailed process. Here are the steps you can take:
- Take action now: The court doesn't know that your circumstances have changed. They expect you to make your payments in full and on time, and if you can't, they need to know about it. Taking action means learning more about the process and the laws pertaining to child support and modifications.
- Ask the other parent for help: It's hard to swallow your pride, but getting the other parent on your side can tilt the scales in your favor with the court.
- Keep making payments: It may be a struggle, but you should continue to make your payments to the best of your ability. Until there is a new court order in place, you know how much you have to pay.
- Document your reasons for requesting a child support modification: You shouldn't expect to receive a modification if you don't have good reason for it. Document any and all changes in financial circumstances, such as a job loss or cut in pay.
- File your request as soon as possible: Forget about waiting around and hoping that your situation improves on its own. No one wants to go through the process of requesting a child support modification, but it's better than missing payments and dealing with the repercussions. Once you know you can't afford your payments, you should file a request with the appropriate family law court.
Even if you take these steps, there is no guarantee the court will approve your request for a child support modification. This is why it's so important to discuss your situation with the other parent and document your change in circumstances.
The process of obtaining a child support modification is full of many details and steps. Fortunately, when you understand the process and your legal rights, you're in better position to get what you want.