Every parent has a duty to provide for their child until they can be old enough to fend for themselves. And most parents take up this responsibility with the nobility it deserves.
Things take a different turn if parents are divorced, however. In this case, the court will issue a child support order. Child support is intended to take care of the child’s daily needs like housing, food, education and clothing among others. Per New Jersey laws, child support ends when the child turns 19. So what happens if you cannot pay court-ordered child support?
Failing to pay child support has legal consequences
Being a court order, child support is binding. Failure to pay child support can result in a range of legal consequences such as:
- Garnishing your paycheck
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
- Interception of your tax refunds
Under certain circumstances, you might serve jail time if you fail to pay child support.
What do you do if your reasons for failing to pay child support are valid?
Life’s circumstances change, and the family court is aware of this. If your circumstances have significantly changed, and you can no longer afford to pay child support, you may petition the court for modification. Here are changes in life circumstances that can justify child support modification:
- Changes in parenting time or physical custody
- Significant change in income like loss of change of job. However, keep in mind that the child support order will not be modified if you deliberately changed jobs or quit your job to avoid paying
- A medical condition that is financially draining
If you have experienced a change in circumstance, do not sit back and do nothing about it. Talk to your co-parent about the change in question. Next, petition the court for modification.