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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

How to keep up with child support payments

If someone in Tennessee is unable to pay child support, it may not be because that person is a deadbeat. There can be legitimate reasons why a parent isn't paying support as ordered such as a job loss, disability or spending money to support other children. Those who are having a hard time keeping up with their payments should ask that their current order be modified.

A modification will take into account the fact that a noncustodial parent isn't making as much as he or she did when a child support order was first issued. In addition to a job loss, medical expenses or increased childcare costs could also be considered changed circumstances that warrant a modification. Until an order is changed, parents should continue to make their payments as best they can, and they should not enter into an oral agreement.

Oral agreements with other parents may not be considered a valid reason to miss a payment or pay less than ordered. Noncustodial parents should also know that they are not alone when it comes to struggling to make child support payments. U.S. Census Bureau data found that only 3,290,000 custodial parents who were owed support received the full amount. That is only 45.3 percent of those who were owed support in the United States.

Generally speaking, child support is designed to make sure that both parents are contributing to the task of raising a child. They also generally ensure that the child's best interests are being met. Those who can't meet their support obligations may benefit from seeking a child support modification to reduce how much they owe each month. Parents who don't make payments could face a variety of penalties including spending time in jail until the balance is paid in full.

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