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Can I be excused from the child support debt I accumulated while I was out of work temporarily?

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Jun 08, 2006 | 0 Comments

Judges in most states are prohibited by law from retroactively modifying a child support obligation. This means if a person becomes unable to pay support, he or she may petition the court for a reduction, but, even if the court reduces future payments, it will most likely hold the parent liable for the full amount of support owed at the time. For this reason, if a parent with a child support obligation starts falling behind because the parent's income has decreased or debts have increased, the parent should immediately seek a temporary modification.
For example, let's say Joe has a child support obligation of $300 per month. Joe is laid off of his job, and six months pass before he finds another one with comparable pay. Although Joe could have sought a temporary decrease on the grounds of diminished income, he lets the matter slide and fails to pay any support during the six-month period. Joe's ex-wife later brings Joe into court to collect the $1,800 arrearage. Joe cannot obtain a retroactive ruling excusing him from making the earlier payments.

Copyright 2005 Nolo

About the Author

J. Benjamin Stevens

Aggressive, creative, and compassionate are words Ben Stevens' colleagues freely use to describe him as a divorce and family law attorney. Ben is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocates. He is one of only four attorneys in South Carolina with those simultaneous distinctions. To schedule a consultation with Ben Stevens call (864) 598-9172.


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