With almost two years of a global pandemic under our belts, you would think we’d have all the answers to the big questions. One of the biggest issues impacting families is financial security. Many families have found the pandemic is just as much about health worries as it is about making ends meet. From layoffs to work from home orders, many pandemic stories have been about grappling with the rippling effects of navigating social distancing, quarantining guidelines, and unemployment. With the economy being so tumultuous now, it’s not surprising many families are struggling financially. For parents worrying about falling behind on child support orders, it can feel there’s no relief in sight.
Navigating Medical and Financial COVID Related Payment Issues
Californians stuck at home recovering from Covid know how stressful it can be wondering how you will pay your bills. While you may be able to negotiate with many of your creditors, if you have court-ordered payments, you need to check with an attorney to find out your options. With the economy in such a desperate state, it’s not surprising many Californians have struggled to make ends meet. When you experience long-term illness or a leave of absence from work, your financial situation can become extremely strained. Unfortunately, it will take more than a simple phone call to your creditor to get help modifying payments on your child support order. If you can no longer afford to make your child support payments, the worst thing you can do is ignore the problem. It’s a serious issue that can get out of control if you don’t take the right steps now.
The Consequences of Skipping Child Support
While you may be able to suspend or delay many of your bills, your child support payments cannot be delayed. Just as you may be struggling to make your payments due to Covid related illness and job losses, your child and ex-spouse rely on that money and may have similar difficulties. If you’ve experienced serious financial issues during the pandemic that have led to missed child support payments, it’s important to remember the serious consequences of not paying child support:
- Bank Account Seizures
- Property Liens
- Loss of Driver’s License
- Negative Credit Impact
- Intercepted Lottery Winnings
- Risk to Professional Licenses
- Offset Tax Refunds
Tax season begins next month, and if you are behind on child support payments, you may end up forfeiting the tax refunds you were expecting. Even if you are married filing jointly, if your spouse owes back child support payments from another relationship, you could still be on the hook for those past due balances, including having your shared bank accounts seized.
What are Your Choices if You Can't Afford to Pay?
Being in a difficult financial situation with an active child support order may feel impossible. What can you do if you’re unemployed but you have an obligation to pay? The best solution to your problem is to petition the court for a post-judgment modification of your child support order. If you’ve already missed payments, it’s important that you act fast before the child support agency begins collections efforts against you.
At Cecil & Cianci, PC, our attorneys can help you draft a child support modification request. Bring in your settlement agreement and a new financial disclosure, and our team will start reviewing the details of your case. Don’t continue to let this situation spin out of control. We can help you get back on track. We know you want to be able to meet your obligations, so let us help you work with the court system to get a child support order you can afford during these challenging times. Call us at (916) 675-3866 to schedule a consultation or for more information on how we could assist in your situation.