Close Menu

What if My Ex Cannot Afford Child Support?

Posted on November 1st, 2022

If you find yourself raising your children alone, child support payments can prove critical. When these payments stop, you may face serious poverty and a compromised standard of living for your children. But what happens when you confront your ex about this, and they claim that they simply cannot afford to make the payments? What if they are lying in an effort to dodge their parental and legal obligations? What if they are telling the truth, and they have virtually no income or savings to speak of? How do you move forward if you find yourself in this situation, and what kind of legal action can you take?

How to Determine Whether They are Telling the Truth?

Your first goal should be to determine whether your ex is actually telling the truth about their financial pressures and lack of income. The good news is that the burden falls on them to prove this in court. They cannot simply stop making payments without first getting permission from the court. To do this, they must petition for a modification of child support – which can only occur under a “significant change of circumstances.” The classic example of a change in circumstance is the loss of a job. However, simply losing your job does not prevent you from getting another job – unless the nation is going through a major recession or depression with shrinking employment opportunities.

Parent might be able to lower their child support obligations if they experience a significant change in income. For example, they might lose their job as a software engineer and be forced to take a position at McDonald’s or Starbucks. But in this situation, they would still be required to provide some level of child support, albeit at a lower amount. The only reason they might be able to completely stop paying child support is if they experience some kind of career-ending injury or illness. But even in this situation, you might still have access to support funds if they receive a workers’ compensation settlement or a personal injury settlement after a car accident, for example.

Finally, a parent might be able to reduce or cease child support payments if they retire – but they must be of retirement age. Again, they must prove that they have a valid reason for modifying their payments, and this means sharing details and documentation of their income, bank accounts, debts, and so on.

What if They Simply Stop Paying?

But what happens if your ex simply stops paying child support without actually going through the proper legal process? In this situation, you could petition the court to take a number of actions against them – starting with sending them warnings and then perhaps garnishing their wages. Of course, it would be impossible to garnish wages if your ex is unemployed. The court can also take a number of additional steps, including seizing your ex’s tax returns or revoking their driver’s license. From there, the court may revoke their professional licenses. If all else fails, your ex might face imprisonment for violating a court order and failing to pay child support.

What if They Really Cannot Afford to Continue Making Payments?

If your ex genuinely cannot afford to continue making child support payments, there is really not much you can do. After all, there is no way to force your ex to hand over money that they just do not have. Sometimes, you need to accept that your ex has indeed fallen on hard times and that they will be unable to contribute financially to the upbringing of your child for the foreseeable future. However, you should always assess your legal options with a family law attorney before giving up hope.

Where Can I Find a Qualified Family Law Attorney in Los Angeles?

If your ex has stopped making child support payments, one of the first things you should do is get in touch with an experienced family law attorney in Los Angeles. Choose the Harris Family Law Group, and you can immediately get started with a solid action plan. During an initial consultation, we can go over your unique circumstances and determine the best course of action based on your specific needs. In some’s cases, it may be possible to facilitate the payment of child support even if your spouse is complaining about a lack of income and other financial pressures. You and your children deserve the support you have been promised, so get in touch today to get started.

Related Links: