Every child support payment you make goes toward the well-being of your children. For that reason, it's easier to get your head around the idea of making these payments until your children reach the age of 18.
However, just because you could afford to make a specific payment in the past doesn't mean you can continue to do so in the future.
Should your financial circumstances change, it's time to look into the finer details of requesting a child support modification. Here are some tips for doing so:
- Act now: Once you realize that you're unable to stay current, it's time to start the process. The court expects you to make all child support payments as required, until you receive a modification. If you miss payments, you're required to catch up in the future (even if you receive a modification).
- Talk to your ex-spouse: It's hard to own up to the fact that you can't afford your child support payments, but clearing the air is one of the best things you can do. If your ex agrees to a child support modification, there's a greater chance of the court doing the same. Also, when you share your troubles, it's less likely that your ex will take legal action in an attempt to collect missed payments.
- Document your change in circumstances: This is extremely important, as the court won't grant a modification if you don't have a solid reason for needing it. For example, if you lost your job or are no longer earning as much money, a termination letter or recent pay stub can help your situation.
- File your request: Once you understand your situation, you can file a modification request with the court. The only way to know if they'll grant the request is to file, so don't hesitate.
If you can't afford to stay current with your child support payments, take action by requesting a modification. This is better than hoping that your finances change for the better. Taking this approach can lead to a situation in which you end up falling further behind, thus making it a challenge to catch up on payments in the future.