If you’re worried that you can’t pay your child support obligation next month, you certainly aren’t alone. Unemployment rates are surging, and most people are struggling to meet their basic needs.

Child support is a legal obligation that parents have toward their children — but it simply isn’t possible to pay something when you don’t have the necessary income. Here’s what you can do instead:

1. Contact your child’s other parent. You want to give them a heads-up about the situation so that they know not to count on a full payment (if anything) next month when they’re doing their budget. Be clear about what you can and cannot do — and don’t make promises you can’t keep.
2. Recognize that your ex can’t waive the support. Child support belongs to the child, not the parent receiving it (even if that isn’t how it feels). No matter how understanding your child’s other parent may be of the situation, your legal obligation remains.
3. Assess your ability to make a partial payment. Partial payments are better than no payments at all, so cut back everywhere you can. Other than your rent, car payment, utilities, food and medical needs, child support is your most important obligation — even if that means letting some credit card payments slide.
4. Try to determine how long your situation may last. If your financial strain is very temporary, you can catch up a missed payment or two fairly quickly. If your economic situation may last for a while, it may be time to seek a modification of support in court.

Ignoring your support obligation is never the right answer, no matter what’s happening. You could be subject to collection actions, wage garnishment, property liens and jail time — among other problems. If you’re a professional, your license to practice could be affected. Contact our office today to learn how we may be able to help.