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What happens if I cannot afford to pay child support?

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2020 | Divorce In Mississippi, Divorce In Tennessee |

When you and your spouse finalize your divorce, a child support agreement is typically determined based on several factors, including each person’s income. However, there are times when circumstances change and you may reach a point where your child support payments are difficult for you to pay. For example, you may find yourself unemployed or laid off.

If you cannot afford to pay child support, you may wonder what happens, and if there a way to seek relief? Keep reading for answers to these questions.

You may be able to request a stay

According to FindLaw, certain situations may make you eligible for a temporary stay. If you lose your job, for example, this is typically considered a good enough reason to grant a temporary pause for your child support payments. Another option would be to request a reduction or modification of your child support if you become unemployed or become laid off. Your income plays a part in calculating your child support payments, so it is important to notify the courts any time a significant decrease occurs.

Make sure to contact the courts as soon as possible after the change occurs. If you simply stop making payments, you may face fines and/or jail time.

Bankruptcy will not discharge arrears

If your finances are so bad that you must file for bankruptcy, your back child support will not become discharged. This is another reason it is important to notify the courts of decreases in your income. If you simply stop paying your child support, you will still owe it at the amount the court originally orders. This can build up over time and continue to be a financial burden if you do not seek a reduction or temporary stay.

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