What Are Your Options If You Cannot Pay Child Support?
Divorces that involve children have many long-term impacts. In Florida, both parents of a child are expected to support them financially until they are no longer a minor. As a marriage ends, one spouse is often responsible for paying child support. Child support is just that. It is meant to support the child or children to support their well-being. However, it also should never pose an unjust burden on you if you have to pay it. When you cannot make your child support payments, you may wonder if you have options. Fortunately, you do.
Reaching an Agreement
Sometimes, recipients of child support are very understanding when their former partner can no longer pay the required amount of support. You can always reach an agreement with your former spouse, which can make things much easier. Still, you will have to obtain the court’s approval to make it official and to avoid disputes in the future. Even when your ex agrees to reduce the amount, you should still collect evidence, such as a notice of layoff, that can prove your case in court.
Not everyone is so understanding when they hear that their former spouse can no longer pay the required amount of child support. When people become especially angry, they may even ask the court to garnish your wages or hold you in contempt of court. Before it gets to this point, mediation is sometimes a good option. During mediation, you and the other party will meet with a neutral mediator who will try to foster compromise and communication so you can reach an agreement on the child support issue.
Petition the Court
If you cannot agree with your former spouse either on your own or during mediation, you may have to petition the court. By doing this, you are essentially asking the court to reduce the amount of child support you are required to pay. Failing to pay ongoing support is usually non-negotiable. However, if you can present strong evidence that shows why you can no longer pay the amount you once did, a judge may lower the amount.
Regardless of the option you choose to lower the amount of child support you pay, it is essential that you do not change the amount you pay until a judge has made the modification. If you do, your former spouse may argue that you are refusing to pay proper support and can take legal action of their own.
Our Family Lawyer in Orlando Can Help with Child Support Issues
If your child support payments have become more than you can afford, our Orlando family lawyer at O’Mara Law Group can help you avoid the potential consequences for non-payment. Our skilled attorneys can negotiate with your former spouse during mediation and if necessary, present evidence in court that will give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or fill out our online form to request a consultation.