Despite your best intentions, an issue in your life may have made it impossible for you to make your regular child support payments. However, you should not ignore these arrears. Doing so can have serious consequences. It may be possible, though, to have your child support order modified to better reflect your financial situation.
Falling behind in child support
If you fall behind in your child support payments it will hit you in the pocketbook significantly. Not only are the overdue payments due, but interest will accumulate on this balance. A judge cannot stop this interest from being applied to your balance. If your payments were due on or after January 1, 1983, 10% interest per year will be added to the amount of your arrears. In addition, your wages could be garnished to pay for your arrears. If you willfully do not pay what you owe in child support, you could even face jail time.
Modifying child support
A child support order can be modified, however, if there has been a significant change in either parent’s income or the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Note that the amount of child support owed can go up or down, since either parent can request modification. The court will consider the current circumstances when deciding whether to approve a child support modification. If you request child support modification, you should continue making your current payments as ordered. The modification is not retroactive.
It is in the child’s best interests that child support is paid in time and on full. You should avoid falling into arrears on your child support. It may be helpful to request a child support modification to better reflect your current financial situation.