Child support is important for the care of your children, but there may be a time when you are unable to make these payments. This does not make you a bad parent or diminish your rights in any way, but it does mean you may benefit from considering certain legal options. When making your payments is not possible, it might be prudent to seek a modification of your child support order.
As Florida readers know, circumstances continue to change long after a divorce or custody order is final. Sometimes, through factors beyond your control, you may experience a decrease in income, which will affect your ability to meet your obligations. Instead of simply not paying or assuming there is nothing you can do, you can work for changes that will allow you to continue to support your kids according to your current financial circumstances.
What do you need to know about modifications?
It may be in your best interests to learn more about modifications and your options before moving forward. One of the most important things to note is that your inability to pay in no way precludes you from your rightful parenting time. The other parent cannot keep you from seeing your children simply because your financial circumstances have changed. If you are struggling to meet the demands of your current support order, consider the following:
- If you believe your original child support order is not fair, you would be within your rights to seek a modification.
- A modification is not a verbal agreement between parents -- you must request a formal change with the family court.
- If your financial circumstances are only temporary, it is possible to seek a temporary modification to a support order.
- Reasons to seek a modification can include job loss, remarriage, new financial responsibilities or the birth of additional children.
Needing to change your child support order does not mean you do not love your kids or you are a bad parent. It simply means you need your support obligations to match your financial capabilities, with is practical and fair.
It might be helpful to discuss this possibility with an experienced family law attorney before filing the paperwork for a modification. As with all decisions related to child support, custody or other family law issues, a complete assessment of your case and explanation of your options may prove useful and help you make prudent decisions for you and your children.