Nobody wants to admit that they are unable to make their child support payments to help provide financial support for their family. Unfortunately, circumstances happen that can make adhering to the payment schedule no longer feasible. With the pandemic dismantling people’s livelihood, many parents are finding that it is necessary to go through the child support modification process.
What Are The Requirements?
There are two methods of changing your child support order. If the other guardian is not willing to accept your proposed modification, then you must prove that there has been a significant “change in circumstances” since your last payment. Change in circumstances encompass the following scenarios in which one or both parents has experienced:
- A job loss
- A change in income
- The birth of a child from another relationship
- The event of becoming incapacitated or incarcerated
- A significant change in the amount of time that they routinely spend with the child in custody
- The costs of raising the child have increased significantly
- Or there has been a significant change in other factors related to raising the child
Sometimes both parents can come to an agreement on child support payments. Typically, this is the result of a significant life change listed above. However, it allows the modification requester to bypass the legal process of having to prove that a change in circumstance occurred. In this scenario, both parties can sign a written agreement detailing the child support modification. Then, the parents may present the agreement to a judge, and the judge can approve and legally alter the child support arrangement.
What Are Common Misconceptions About the Child Support Modification Process?
It is important to note that a nonverbal agreement between parents does not make a legal change to the child support agreement. The child support agreement may only be changed by a judge, which means that you must go through the necessary legal process in order to modify payments.
Some people may believe that modifying their child support in the event of a job loss is unnecessary if they are actively searching for employment. With such a delicate financial situation, however, it is highly advised to be proactive with managing your payments so that you may reasonably meet them without financial strain.
What Should I Do If I Can’t Afford Child Support?
If you have experienced a life-altering change in your financial situation, then it is important to be proactive in modifying your child support so that you do not become indebted to the other parent. If you have a positive relationship with the child’s other guardian, then it might be best to have a conversation with them about signing a modification agreement and presenting that to a judge to get it approved.
Many parents, however, might find it in their best interests to go through this process with the help of a qualified family law attorney. If you are living in the Bay Area and would like advice on how you can modify your child support, then contact our offices at LPEP to schedule a free, 30-minute consultation. LPEP is one of the most reputable family law firms in the Bay Area and has the resources to help you fight for your parental rights.