In order to ensure the best interests of their children, many California parents are willing to make reasonable child-support payments. However, there are some situations in which satisfying current child support amounts is difficult. Such a situation can create financial and legal hardships for the parent making the payments.

Typically, child support payments are either established by mutual agreement between parents or set by a family law court judge. Payments are supposed to be proportionate to a parent’s income, but sometimes a parent’s circumstances may change. For example, a parent may become ill, lose their job or face long-term changes in their personal finances.

In such cases, it’s important for the parent to address the issue promptly. Failing to make child-support payments can result in possible criminal charges as well as additional fines and fees levied by the courts. Child support debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy.

One option for parents who find themselves in difficult financial circumstances is to return to family court and ask the judge for a child support modification. Typically, child-support is based on a mathematical model that considers a parent’s earning capacity and financial situation along with a child’s needs. A change in a parents ability to earn a living, as well as current economic circumstances, can result in a reduction that makes it easier for the parent to meet his or her responsibilities.

Someone who is concerned about their ability to make child support payments might benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the client’s finances and make recommendations about obtaining a possible modification to the original support order.