In periods of widespread economic instability, many people are left wondering how they’re going to meet their financial obligations. Divorced parents, of course, have an extra worry. They may not know how they’re going to pay their court-ordered child support in the wake of an extended layoff.

If your child support payments are an issue, here’s what you should know:

  1. You cannot ignore the problem. Whatever else is happening, you need to address this particular financial concern as soon as possible if you want to avoid negative consequences.
  2. You should talk to your co-parent. They cannot legally absolve you of the debt unless you go back to court. Just the same, advance warning that money will be short can help them budget and ease tensions (as opposed to just letting them figure it out when the payment doesn’t come).
  3. You need to make any necessary financial adjustments to pay the support you owe. Before you miss the next payment, take a hard look at your finances. If there are other financial obligations that you can cancel, skip or delay, it’s probably better than missing your support payment.
  4. You need to contact the court or your attorney. If your financial situation may drag on indefinitely, you may need to request a modification of your support order. If your reasons are valid, the judge can decrease what you owe until you’re back on better financial ground.

A substantial change in your finances is a valid reason to request modification of your child support order. However, it’s wise not to try to handle the issue on your own. Find out how an experienced family law attorney can assist you.