If you were the breadwinner during your marriage, a judge will likely order you to pay child support to your ex-spouse. However, circumstances can change over time. If you lost your job or your expenses have risen excessively, you might not be able to afford your child support payments anymore. Being in this situation can be very stressful, but there are steps you can take to make things a little easier.
Have a Conversation with Your Ex
If you and your ex-spouse aren’t on good terms, the idea of talking to him or her about your inability to make child support payments may feel impossible, but it’s worth a try. While an oral agreement isn’t legally binding, talking to your ex about your situation in a calm manner may ease some of the tension. Explain your situation, whether it’s job loss or high medical expenses, and try to come to a mutual understanding. If you talk to your ex about your struggles early on, he or she may take the news better.
Reduce Your Expenses
If finances are tight right now, there are still a few things you can do to free up some of your income. Write down everything you spend for one week and see what areas you can cut back on. You may be surprised at how much money you waste every week. For example, ordering fancy coffee every day at Starbucks can add up. If you reduce some of your frivolous purchases, you may have more money to contribute to child support.
Contact the Child Support Enforcement Agency
The next step is to go to the Child Support Enforcement Agency in your state. The agency may be able to help you modify your child support payments. When you go to the office, you will be asked to fill out forms explaining your situation. Be honest and as detailed as possible in your answers. For example, if you were fired from your job, state that the job loss has made it difficult to keep up with your payments. If you have a copy of your termination letter, bring it with you. If you have legitimate reason to have your payments lowered, the agency may offer you a new plan.
Hire a Family Law Lawyer
If you’re having trouble getting your child support payments lowered, seek the help of an experienced family law lawyer, like a family law lawyer in Rockville, MD. He or she can review your case and advise you the best way to proceed. Your lawyer will have your best interest in mind and find a way to improve your situation.
Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into the steps that should be taken if you can no longer afford child support payments.