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Can you get the court to lower your child support payments?

Not being able to pay child support when you're struggling to make ends meet is an agonizing feeling. You naturally want to support your child as much as you can -- and you know that the consequences for failing to live up to your obligation can be severe. You can lose your driver's license, face contempt proceedings and more.

Will the court lower your payments? Maybe. You can ask for a modification to your obligation if there's been a substantial change in your income. Here's what you should consider first:

  1. Is your situation likely to continue for a while? The court will need to see evidence of your current income before they make any adjustments. If you're out of work for just a couple of weeks, that's very inconvenient and troublesome. However, the court may not think that's "substantial" enough to warrant a modification.
  2. Are you at fault for the change in your income? Layoffs and job losses happen, and that's perfectly understandable. On the other hand, if you decided to abandon your job to focus on writing a novel or to pursue your musical dreams, the court probably won't have any sympathy for your financial distress.
  3. Have you tried to remedy the matter? If you lost your job, the court may want proof that you're either unable to work right now or are actively seeking employment somewhere.

If you've looked at the situation honestly and feel that this is likely to be an ongoing problem that's out of your control, it may be time to talk to an attorney about how to go about seeking a modification in your child support.

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