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What if My Ex-spouse Cannot Afford To Pay Child Support


Child support aims to divide the costs of raising a child between the two parents. When child support payments stop, the parent living with the child may face serious financial difficulties. When support payments stop, the parent raising the child can have difficulty paying for the ordinary and every day expenses related to children of all ages.

If your ex-spouse claims he or she cannot afford child support payments anymore, you may be wondering how to move forward and what kind of legal action you can take. Well, the first thing you need to do is determine if he or she is telling the truth. Your ex-spouse could be just lying in an effort to escape his or her parental and legal obligations. Unfortunately, there are life events which leave parents unable to pay child support. These life events include serious accidents, health problems or even a temporary loss of employment.  There may still be remedies available to you. Read on to learn more.

Determining if Your Ex-Spouse Is Being Truthful

The good news is that if your ex-spouse claims he or she can no longer afford child support payments, he or she bears the burden of proving this to the court. Your child’s other parent cannot stop making child support payments without receiving the court’s permission. In Florida, before a parent can stop making child support payments, he or she must petition the court to modify or change the existing support order. And for the court to grant a modification request, the parent requesting the modification must prove that he or she has experienced a substantial change in circumstances that makes it impossible for him or her to keep up with payments.

One example of a substantial change in circumstances is losing a job. However, just losing a job may not be enough to warrant stopping making child support payments. When a person loses a job, he or she can get another job. If a parent experiences a significant change in income, a parent can lower his or her child support obligations but not stop making payments. The only reason a parent may be allowed to stop making child support payments is if he or she suffered a career-ending injury or disease.

If the court determines your ex-spouse has experienced a substantial change in circumstances that prevents him or her from being able to keep up with child support payments, he or she may be allowed to reduce or suspend payments, but the latter is rate.  So long as a parent is physically able to work, the court will access child support, even if income has to be imputed to that parent.

What if Your Ex-spouse Just Stops Making Payments?

If your ex-spouse stops making payments without following the proper procedure, you can petition the court, with an attorney’s help, to take several actions against him or her. For instance, you can file a contempt action and ask for relief such as accessing assets, utilizing and income withholding order, etc.  Cases which involve child support enforcement offer additional remedies such as intercepting tax refunds or other cash awards.

Contact a Jacksonville Child Support Lawyer

If your ex claims he or she cannot afford child support payments or has stopped making payments, you should contact an experienced child support lawyer as soon as possible. Our Jacksonville child support lawyers at The Lasky Law Firm are here for you. Contact us today.


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