Q I was one of hundreds of people laid off from my job recently. I’ve been looking for a new job, but I haven’t found anything yet. With no income, I haven’t been able to make any child support payments to my ex-wife. I’m not a deadbeat dad; I’m just out of work. Can I get my payments lowered or suspended until I find work?
A. Maybe. You can hire a lawyer and seek court approval for a modification of your court-ordered child support payments. However, by the time your case gets heard, you may already have a new job or you may be impossibly far behind on your payments.
Another option is to talk to your ex-wife to see if she would let you pay less than you owe, or perhaps nothing, until you find a new job, with the understanding that you will attempt to make up the missed payments when you are able.
Even if your ex-wife is not agreeable to your plan, you should still try to pay as much as you can each month. Later, if you find yourself in court defending your lack of payments, you will be able to demonstrate that you paid all you could afford, even though you were out of work.
But don’t forget: Interest adds up quickly on unpaid and underpaid amounts. Plus, the law does allow a judge to send you to jail for failing to make the child support payments.
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