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What if I Can’t Afford to Pay Child Support in NJ?

When parents divorce, the court wants both parents to contribute to the needs of the children. If you are a non-custodial parent, chances are that you are going to have to pay child support. So what happens if you suddenly find yourself unable to pay child support? Just stopping payments is rarely a good idea. You should talk to our Morris County, NJ child support attorneys and figure out what to do next.

What Happens If I Just Don’t Pay Child Support?

If you cannot pay child support and you just don’t tell anybody, you start to build up a backlog of payments that all need to be addressed eventually. At the same time, you are giving your ex an extremely good reason to bring you to court. If you do not pay child support, you could be held in contempt. That can mean fines and jail time.

Obviously, it’s hard to get someone to pay child support from a prison cell. Jail time is a last resort, but you should know what kinds of punishments are on the table! It is more likely that you will suffer economic consequences. The court could:

  • Garnish your wages
  • Place a lien against accounts or property
  • Withhold tax refunds

You could also have your driver’s license suspended.

Can I Change My Child Support Agreement?

Instead of just refusing to pay child support when things get tough, the smart move is to ask the court for a modification. A child support agreement can be changed, especially when there is evidence that the economic situation of one or both parents has changed dramatically. Good reasons for requesting an adjustment can include a medical emergency or the loss of a job. If your situation improves, the agreement can be modified again.

How Can I Get a Judge to Decide in My Favor?

Just telling the judge that you don’t have money is unlikely to make much of a difference. You need to show the court that you cannot pay by offering up some evidence. We recommend having things like:

  • Correspondence from the boss at your former job, indicating that you were let go
  • Bank statements
  • Medical bills, if you are claiming that an injury affects your ability to pay child support
  • Testimony from doctors about your prognosis

If you lost your job, you should also be prepared to show the court that you have been making an effort to get a new one.

Schedule Your Consultation

If you are struggling with a part of your divorce agreement and you need assistance modifying it, make Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark your first call. Our lawyers will help you figure out the next steps so that you can continue to provide for your children.