Anybody can lose a job. When this happens, the best thing to do is to get to court right away with a request to modify child support, because even if you do not have a job, your child support payments will not stop automatically. You still owe the money until the Judge grants a modification to your child support obligation in a court order.
Something is better than nothing.
Another important thing to do is pay something, especially if you are still working but fluctuating income allows you to pay something even if you can’t pay the full amount. A judge will not be receptive to the plea that “I have bills to pay” as a justification to not pay child support. Assume that your court ordered obligations come first. This is important because if the other party is trying to hold you in contempt for failing to pay support, the issue is whether your failure to pay is “willful,” so the more you pay, the harder it is for a judge to conclude that your failure to pay the full amount is willful.
How do I catch up?
Whether or not you are ultimately found in contempt of court, there might be a substantial arrearage that you have no means to pay all at once from your resources. In such cases, often the person paying support will have to pay back the arrearage at 20% of the rate of the current obligation, so if child support is $1,000 monthly, you would have to pay $200 monthly towards the arrearage until it is paid in full.
Contact me if you need help.
Receiving a contempt petition that seeks as relief, among other things, incarceration, can be a cause for concern, to say the least, and there are other landmines to navigate, such as defending a demand from opposing counsel that you pay his or her attorney’s fees, but with an experienced attorney assisting you, adverse results can be greatly minimized, and in some cases, even avoided altogether.