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What can I do if I can't afford my child support payments?

There are many important details that divorcing parents must address regarding their children. Of primary concern is making sure the children's financial needs are met. And child support plays an important role in helping ensure that there is enough money made available to cover a child's expenses.

And while parents typically want to do whatever they can to provide for their children, sometimes there is disagreement about the amount that should be paid by the noncustodial parent. And unfortunately, the situation can be made more contentious when a parent feels they are being asked to pay an amount that's in excess of what they can reasonably afford.

If you are a parent who is having problems keeping up with your child support payments, you may begin to feel discouraged and even forgo sending the money you owe. This would be a mistake as you are legally required to make these payments. Should you fail to fulfill your payment obligations, you could face a variety of penalties and may even have your visitation rights suspended.

But if you are struggling, your best move is to still keep making the payments or pay what you can. You will be held accountable for the money regardless; so not paying only means you will be accruing debts, which can grow to a sizable sum.

You also want to try to work with the child's other parent. Let her know your situation and explain the benefits of working together to get the matter resolved. These advantages include sparing both of you the emotional turmoil of a dispute as well as the cost of litigating the matter.

But if your ex-spouse is not amenable to accommodating your needs, you may want to take further steps. A family law attorney can be a valuable ally when you need to have your child support agreement modified. The attorney could help you understand the specific requirements you will need to meet to have the modification accepted by the court. If you meet those requirements, the attorney can act on your behalf to help get the modification made.

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