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I Cannot Pay Court-Ordered Child Support. What Should I Do?

Pay Now Or Pay By Losing Your Children

If you cannot pay child support, are having trouble making ends meet because of child support or do not want to pay child support, do not simply stop paying a court-ordered child support amount. You still owe the amount of child support the court ordered you to pay, regardless of your ability or willingness to pay, until the court grants a modification. Failure to pay or otherwise make arrangements can have drastic implications for your relationship with your children.

Requesting A Modification Of Child Support

It is possible to modify an order for child support. North Carolina law allows for an existing child support order to be reviewed and a modification be made to the monthly payment amount if:

  • At least three years have passed since the existing order for child support was entered
  • Applying existing North Carolina child support guidelines to the parent’s current income results in a 15 percent difference in the amount of child support that should be paid

It may be possible to modify child support for other reasons, such as a disability that leaves you unable to work and pay support. Your child support modification attorney can discuss available options with you.

Past-Due Child Support, Interest, And Penalties

There are both criminal and civil penalties for failing to pay court-ordered child support. Simply stopping payment on a child support obligation can lead to enforcement action by a North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Child Support Enforcement Agency. You may be held in contempt of court for failing to pay child support and sentenced to jail.

If you receive an income tax return, that money can be seized and used to pay past-due child support. Your employer may also receive a garnishment order, requiring that your child support payments be deducted from your paycheck. Interest may also accrue on unpaid child support.

Contact Daly Mills Family Law

The child support modification attorneys at Daly Mills Family Law can offer legal advice on the importance of meeting your child support obligations or seeking a court-ordered modification when your circumstances change to the point that you can no longer pay. Contact our firm online or call our office at 704-878-2365 to schedule a consultation with an experienced North Carolina child support lawyer.

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