A few years ago, the New York Times published a high-profile article about the cycle of missed child support payments that too many American parents find themselves affected by. The article illustrates just how precarious certain child support arrangements can be. At the extreme end of the spectrum, parents who habitually miss child support payments find themselves facing jail time. When imprisoned, they lose their source of employment. When they get out of jail, they find themselves without steady income and hampered from obtaining a new position by their arrest record. They then are unable to pay their child support obligations again and end up back in jail.
As a child support lawyer, from a law firm like the McKinney Law Group can explain, not all missed child support payments result in such extreme circumstances. However, habitually delayed or delinquent payments can add up over time. If a court feels the need to intervene, parents who owe outstanding support payments may face jail time, loss of professional and/or driver’s licenses, fines, wage garnishment and a host of other consequences. As a result, it is critically important for parents who are behind on their support payments to speak with an experienced family law attorney. Lawyers with experience in this area of law may be able to help parents catch up on their delinquent payments and/or modify their current support orders while mitigating the consequences traditionally associated with missed child support.
Modifications and Enforcement
In general, it is possible to modify existing child support orders when a parent, a child and/or a family has been dramatically affected by a change in circumstances. For instance, if a parent suddenly becomes seriously ill or disabled and is no longer physically able to work at the same capacity he or she used to, this may serve as grounds for a reasonable modification of existing child support orders. However, such modifications are generally only approved when co-parents agree to them and/or a significant change in circumstances has occurred since the orders were originally issued. Also, voluntary loss of income does not generally result in reasonable grounds for modification.
If a modification is not appropriate in your situation but you remain eager to catch up on overdue payments, please consider connecting with an attorney. A host of legal options may be available to you, depending on how your state handles such situations.
Child Support Assistance Is Available
If you have questions about modifications specifically or child support more generally, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney. The law requires parents to provide for their children. But the family legal system also tries to accommodate parents who are struggling as a result of extreme circumstances. Although it is not generally possible to discharge outstanding child support debt, it may be possible to catch up on missed payments and/or modify your existing child support payment schedule while mitigating the consequences usually associated with delinquent payments. Speaking with an experienced family law attorney may provide you with the support and legal guidance you need in order to get your feet back underneath you and to get your child access to the financial resources he or she is entitled to.