Child support when funds are stretched
When you’re divorced and pay child support, it’s necessary to continue paying regularly as required by the court order. If you fail to pay because you’re short on cash during the winter months or because your bonus didn’t come in like you thought it would, you could find yourself in a legal bind.
It’s not uncommon for a supporting parent to fall behind
Realistically, there are times during the year when increased expenses mean that someone might fall behind on child support payments. Even when money is tight, though, that doesn’t mean the support can just be forgotten about.
If you cannot make a payment, you need to let the other parent know right away. Late child support is usually only a significant problem in the eyes of the court if you’re paying late regularly, but even a one-time late payment could be problematic if the other parent decides to take it to court.
Instead of risking that, try to maintain good communication with the other parent. Tell them why you can’t pay the full amount right now, and establish a way to address the back child support that is owed. You might set up a payment schedule, paying a little extra each week until the back child support is paid or ask to pay a few days late until your paycheck comes in.
If you continue to have problems paying support, then it might be time to consider seeking a modification of your support obligation. Changes in your job and earnings need to be addressed so that you can afford to pay what you owe every month. Until then, try your best to stretch your funds and make a payment, even if you cannot afford the full amount. This will show that you attempted to provide support even if you couldn’t pay it all, which looks better to the court than skipping a payment completely.