What to do when you cannot afford child support

As a parent, you never know when your life may change; you might lose your job or get into an accident that prevents you from working. Even if you wish to pay child support, these changes can make it challenging to keep up. However, failing to pay child support in North Carolina has serious consequences.

Even if your situation has changed, you still have an obligation to pay child support. The other parent may seek a court order against you, which could result inĀ contempt of court or jail time. To avoid this, you may want to take the following steps:

  1. Pay at least a portion of the required child support

Budgeting can be difficult when your resources are running out or your income has significantly decreased. Look at your expenses and see what you can sacrifice. Paying at least a portion of your child support obligations may convince the judge that you are not trying to run away from your responsibilities.

  1. Negotiate with your ex-partner

Talk to your ex-partner and share your side of the story. They may be willing to negotiate to lower your child support payment. You may still have to go to court to finalize those changes, but this way, you can avoid surprises and the stress of a court battle.

  1. Keep records of crucial information

In many cases, a divorced parent only wants to avoid their responsibilities. Because of this, the court is strict about child support enforcement and modification. You will have to show that your reasons for not paying or paying a lower amount are valid. The following may count as proof:

  • Medical documentation of a disease or injury
  • Employment applications to show you are seeking new work following unemployment
  • Evidence of a significantly lower income, such as tax returns and income statements

You also have the option to petition the court for a review hearing before your ex-partner attempts a court order against you. This lets the judge and your ex know you are trying to resolve things, but your situation calls for changes. Working with an attorney may help you negotiate a more reasonable support order if you are struggling financially.

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