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Options Available When Paying Child Support Under Economic Hardship

When there is an economic downturn, certain financial commitments such as child support can be much more difficult to meet. You may have lost your job or your hours may have been cut. The job market may make it more difficult to replace your job. However, you may still be required to make payments.

Child Support Laws are Strict

You are still required to make a court-ordered payment even if you have lost your job. However, in the case of an emergency, you might be eligible for emergency relief to help pay for child support. Your eligibility will be based on the type of emergency and the priorities that the state has while offering relief. 

You May Receive Temporary Relief

Your child's needs take priority. However, if you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be able to have your child support payments reduced. Child support is based on your income. The courts might choose to provide temporary or permanent relief based on your situation. 

You May Be Able to Negotiate

If you're struggling to make your child support payments still, a family lawyer may be able to help. Family law is an area of law that is much more about negotiation compared to others. Your lawyer may be able to come up with a better solution that takes your individual needs into account.

When negotiating with your ex, you will want to discuss your financial situation, review your finances, and come up with a new and temporary payment plan. This plan must also be designed to have the least detrimental effect on your child.

However, given that you might have a tense relationship with your ex, negotiating a temporary adjustment to the child support order can be very challenging. You'll also need a mediator to address all of the legal and technical aspects of this negotiation.

Courts Must Follow State Guidelines

When both you and your ex agree to the changes, the courts will usually allow the changes to go forward. However, there are some cases where the changes might fall outside of the guidelines of your state.

Otherwise, the courts might be restricted in what they can do even if they believe that you have a justified case. The courts are required to strictly stick to statutes when making decisions on child support. Statutes usually require that child support only be reduced if there are extraordinary medical expenses or if there is an uninsured catastrophe. But there are many cases where a family lawyer can help you.