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What can I do if I can’t meet my child support obligation?

Sadly, there are quite a few non-custodial parents in the United States who are unable to meet their child support obligations — many of whom live in New York. Custodial parents often depend on child support in order to make ends meet, so when it is not paid, this can cause significant financial problems. The simple truth is that numerous non-custodial parents do not have the income necessary to pay the amount of support ordered. What, if anything, can be done when this is the case?

Those who are unable to pay their child support due to economic troubles do have the right to request a support order modification. This is not always easy to achieve, but under the right circumstances, it may be granted. So, what personal circumstances may warrant a child support modification? A few might include:

  • Loss of employment
  • Reduction of income
  • Custody changes
  • Child becomes emancipated

If a non-custodial parent’s situation changes, he or she may file a modification petition in Family Court. This should be done as soon as possible, as any changes that are approved will only take affect from the date the petition is filed. After filing the appropriate petition, a hearing will be scheduled. If, for some reason, one can not physically attend the hearing, it may be possible to appear via telephone. This is generally only allowed if the non-custodial parent will have to travel a considerable distance in order to attend in person.

Child support modification is not always granted. A non-custodial parent will have to show proof of a change in circumstances in order for this to be obtained. This can be done by providing W-2s, tax returns, pay stubs, custody papers or any other evidence that shows a change has occurred. Parents in New York can seek assistance when dealing with child custody issues. An experienced family law attorney will do everything possible to help these individuals achieve custody orders that provide sufficiently for their children but are also affordable.

Source: otda.ny.gov, “A Guide For Noncustodial Parents Paying Child Support”, Accessed on Nov. 24, 2015