How Disability After Divorce Effects Child Support
If you file for divorce with children and you are not lobbying to be the primary caretaker, then you can expect to pay child support in order to support their upbringing until they reach the age of majority. However, life has a tendency to happen, and part of that life can mean getting hurt. However, while getting hurt and collecting disability doesn’t seem like it should be related to divorce or child support, when you go on disability, it can often affect those payments because you may not be making as much income as you once were. Yet, they may also have some unexpected consequences that need to be addressed.
What Happens if You Don’t Pay Child Support on Disability?
While often not a primary concern at first, if you are put on disability even just for a short-term, you may find it difficult to keep up with your child support payments. It may even come to a point in which your bills have gotten so high and your income has been lowered that you cannot make the payment to your ex-spouse, but what happens if you don’t? If you are paying voluntary child support to your ex-spouse, if you stop paying there isn’t anything they can legally do to you. However, if your child support is official and court-ordered, if you fail to pay child support then you face some serious consequences.
If you just decide to stop paying court-ordered child support, you face punishments like wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, passport revocation, and even jail time. However, this is likely if you are maliciously not paying. Being put on disability is often a legitimate reason for courts to consider a modified child support payment. The key to avoiding punishment for not paying child support is that whenever a big life event happens, like getting hurt and being put on disability, you need to inform the courts if you discover that payments will be more difficult or impossible. They won’t view you as some “deadbeat” trying to skip payment, and you will be surprised how likely they will be to work with you.
Can Child Support Be Modified for Disability?
If you are put on even short-term disability and believe you won’t be able to make payments, you should notify the courts. They may grant you a lower payment for the span of your disability. If you are going to be on permanent or very long-term disability, if you cannot afford payments, you may find that the courts are amicable to significantly lowering them. The issue that most face on disability is that they don’t think that disability is a legitimate reason to modify payments, but it is.
Child support is decided based on the income of both sides, and if the parent paying child support has their income drop significantly because they had to go on disability, that is a very valid reason for modification. However, those on disability should note that the payment may not always be modified to be as low as they would like, especially if the primary caretaker of your children still needs the support.
Have you been hurt and put on disability? The process of getting your new life figured out after being put on disability is difficult. However, when you have alimony or child support payments to figure out on top of it, then it can be near impossible to figure it out alone. However, if you are having problems keeping up with payments and want to know if you can modify them, you need someone to represent you in the process. If you need help modifying your child support payments after being put on disability, contact us today.