According to the US Census Bureau, 1 in 5 children lives in a household that receives child support. Extenuating circumstances, such as job loss, medical emergency, bankruptcy, or insufficient income, can make paying for child support difficult. Know that you are not alone. Only about half of guardians receive the total amount of child support, and 30% receive none at all.
If you are struggling to pay for child support, there are different ways you can ask for assistance in paying court-ordered child support.
- Speak with Your Co-Parent
Because the payment is going to the child’s care, it is a good idea to speak with the child’s guardian to let them know what is going on. Your co-parent cannot legally waive your child support obligations, but they can work out a short-term leniency with you. At the least, speaking with them and putting in a good-faith effort to pay at least part of the child support will help in the long term and protect you from legal trouble.
- Working with the Court
Even if you and your co-parent have agreed to reduce payments, it is crucial to notify the court overseeing your case as soon as possible. Letting the court know about any payment problems or financial troubles will make the judge overseeing your case more understanding. Failure to speak with the court can force them to make judgments and false assessments about your situation.
- Making a Payment Schedule
Working with a court or your co-parent to make a more affordable payment schedule is a great way to ensure the child receives the money they need while keeping yourself afloat. A judge is the only one who can legally amend the payment schedule of your child support, but speaking with your co-parent and agreeing on one can help shield you from legal action. Speaking with a judge or the child support agency can help you find a payment schedule that works for you.
- State Relief Benefits and Programs
Each state has different programs that might benefit you based on your financial situation. If you have lost your job, you can apply for unemployment benefits. In New York State, the state can take out a percentage of your unemployment benefits that go directly to child support based on the number of dependents you have. There are also several programs offering support for non-custodial parents that need assistance—such programs vary by state. Visit the New York Child Support Services website to learn more about these programs.
- Private Loans
Another way to meet child support payments is to take out a private loan. You can apply for a personal loan from a bank, credit union, or even friends and family. You will have to pay back the loan and the child support. Taking out private loans is a gamble for a future with more money and should be a last resort, so you are not sacrificing long-term financial stability for short-term support.
Ask an Attorney for Guidance
Unexpected life changes happen. Speaking with an experienced attorney can help you find the best way to move forward in paying child support after changes in your financial situation. Our Monroe County attorneys have years of experience working in the best interest of you and your children.
Contact at (585) 449-4987 or visit our website to learn more about how we can help you with paying child support.