What if I Can’t Afford to Pay Child Support?

contact us for a Free Consultation
calculator and money

Child support payments are important for a separated couple to agree on for the benefit of their child. The money from child support can be used for their education, healthcare, childcare, food, clothes, and any other needs that are important to the development and growth of the child. Payment plans should be fair to all parties involved, but sometimes circumstances change and a paying parent can no longer afford to keep up with the child support. In this case, there are steps you can take to rectify the situation and avoid legal trouble. If you need help regarding child support payments, contact a Suffolk County child support lawyer for skilled legal advice and representation.

How is Child Support Calculated?

Child support payments are typically decided after a separation or divorce. The custodial parent who has custody of the child more than 50% of the time will receive payments, usually monthly, from the non-custodial parent.

Payments are calculated based on a percentage of income scale which considers a variety of factors. When determining how much a non-custodial parent will pay, a court will look at how many children the couple has, their ages, average expenses, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, and the income of each parent. The research is extensive to ensure a fair monthly payment for both parents and the child.

Why Would Someone Be Unable to Afford Child Support?

Because child support is calculated after examining an array of factors, the paying parent should be able to afford the monthly child support payments. However, it is understandable that circumstances change. Maybe they were able to afford the payments at the time it was decided but something in their life has changed and now they cannot. Some examples of why a paying parent may be unable to afford child support include:

  • They were laid off
  • They unwillingly took a pay cut
  • Their business is not making enough money
  • They have new financial responsibilities
  • They have to take time off of work or use their income to fund treatment for the development of a medical condition

If any of the above is true, a court may consider reevaluating the original child support payment plan they created.

If I Can’t Pay What Should I Do?

You should always be honest about your financial situation when speaking with a judge. If you can no longer afford to pay your child support, you must petition the court for a modification. Never stop paying without consulting a court as you may face legal repercussions. A judge can grant child support modifications if they see fit.

You should prepare evidence of your financial status including pay stubs, bank statements, and other expenses. A judge will evaluate the new details of your situation including your income, earning capacity, etc. If you truly can no longer afford your payments due to significant changes in your life, a judge may grant you a modification that could lower or change the frequency of your payments.

Our Recent Blogs

How is Mediation Different from Collaborative Divorce?

Many couples who are going through a divorce disagree on nearly every topic. One thing they may have in common, though, is the knowledge…
Read More

How is Pet Custody Determined in New Jersey?

Divorce can be a long and grueling process. When two people’s lives are so intertwined, deciding to end the relationship and divide your lives…
Read More