If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t afford to make child support payments, you are certainly not alone. Attorneys who know family law in Pasco County, FL, note that not all the cases in arrears because of parents who choose to ignore court orders. Many cases result from financial circumstances beyond people’s control, such as a lost job or medical emergency.
It may seem logical to reach out to the other parent and make an informal agreement until the circumstances improve, but that is the wrong step to take. Child support payments are court-ordered, and only the courts should make any adjustments.
If You’re Behind on Child Support
Attorneys in family law will advise that you need to take your case to a judge for a review and modification of your child support. Only a judge can change the amount you pay. Payments can’t be changed retroactively, which means you still owe all back payments. It’s critical to file a petition in the same court that ordered your current child support payments to request a modification.
This may seem overwhelming, but there is help. Consider getting help from a pro-bono family law advocacy group or contact your local United Way or other charity groups.
Next, contact the Office of Child Support Enforcement in your state to let them know you’re working on getting a hearing review of your current child support amount and that you’re actively working on resolving the issue.
Once you have a new child support amount, contact them again, and discuss a payment plan. Some states will offer to waive the interest on back child support or negotiate a debt settlement after a year of consistent payment of your current court-ordered child support.