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Graff & Associates, LLC - Family Law
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What can I do if I cannot afford support payments?

Sometimes things can happen in life that makes it hard for you to pay child support. You might have lost a job, developed a serious medical condition that requires expensive treatment or simply fallen on hard times in Montgomery and Bucks counties and in Philadelphia. Though you are willing to pay child support to your ex, the amount you must pay might be too high. 

You might be wondering what your options are if you are unable to afford to pay child support. It is important for you to tread carefully. You do not want to ignore a child support order. Failure to pay child support has serious consequences that could result in wage garnishment and jail time, while causing you to fall behind in payments. It might be possible for you to ask for a child support modification. Here are some factors to consider about child support modifications. 

Child support modifications must be justified 

The courts recognize that there are circumstances that can occur that make paying child support difficult. To qualify for a modification in child support, you must have a legitimate need that occurred after the existing child support order went into effect. Loss of employment meets the criteria for need. Additional circumstances that qualify include changes in household income, remarriage where you have additional children to support and a serious illness that results in financial hardship. 

Evidence is necessary for child support payment adjustments 

You must prove to the courts that the original payment amount puts you in hardship. Be prepared to provide evidence of the changes in income, such as job loss and other documents that justify a modification of the child support order. Your child’s other parent may or may not agree with your petition for adjustment. However, it is up to the courts to base its determination on the evidence in your claim. 

Keep in mind that until your request for modification is granted, you must continue to try and pay what you can towards child support. Contact the other parent and let him or her know about your circumstances. Ask if he or she is willing to work with you paying less until you find another job to replace the income you lost. Do your best to abide by the terms of the original child support order until the judge modifies it.