What If I Can’t Afford My Child Support Payments?By DADvocacy™ | November 27, 2016
Have you suffered a life-altering event that is making it difficult for you to make your child support payments? Have you been injured, sick, lost your job, or had some other unexpected, substantial change in circumstances? If the answer is yes, do not stop making your child support payments. You have the legal responsibility to pay your child support in full and on time regardless of your circumstances. If you need to adjust your child support amount, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced family law attorney in Miami.
What if I Lose My Job?
If you lose your job and are unable to make your child support payments in full, you should still pay something every month. This will demonstrate to the court that you are prioritizing your child’s needs. The court deems child support to be the first priority, even ahead of your own expenses. Only a court order may modify your ongoing child support obligation. There are severe penalties for not making your payments, including suspension of your license, interception of your tax refund, and even jail time.
If child support was being deducted from your paycheck, you will need to provide an alternative method of payment. For example, you can register for a Florida Child Support ePay account at the ePay registration page. You can also pay your child support at Amscot.
How Can I Modify My Child Support Payments?
To begin the process of changing your child support payments, you must file a petition with the court. At the hearing you will need to prove to the judge that your situation has substantially changed, and that the change was involuntary. Quitting a job and taking a lower paying job generally does not qualify as a substantial change. Evidence to support your claims must be presented to the court. The evidence can be in the form of documents (such as medical records or pay information), photographs, and witness testimony.
What are the penalties if I fail to pay child support?
When you fail to make child support payments, the court can take drastic action. You will likely be held in contempt of court, and the court may do any of the following, sometimes even without telling you first:
- Seize your bank accounts;
- Withhold your income or benefits;
- Intercept your tax return or any other source of income;
- Take your property;
- Report you to credit bureaus;
- Suspend your driver’s and/or professional license;
- Put you in jail.
You may also have to pay for the other parent’s attorney’s fees and costs related to the court proceedings. Therefore, it is critical that you contact a Miami child support attorney if you know that you are going to fall behind in your payments so drastic legal actions can be avoided. For further information or to schedule an appointment with one of our highly experienced and reputable family law attorneys please contact Dadvocacy at (305) 371-7640.